Jack Stroudley looks ahead to our final game before the international break.
Yet another week where a Saturday 3pm seems like a distant memory. This weekend we travel to the midlands to take on Aston Villa on Sunday. A good point against Brighton was followed by a good effort against Manchester United, until injury time when Bruno Fernandes nicked a winner. Another tough test awaits us this weekend, but can Fulham go into the international break with a positive result?
Despite a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest last weekend, Aston Villa will come into this full of confidence. Since being appointed last season, Unai Emery has turned the fortune at Aston Villa and has made Villa Park a fortress with their last defeat at home coming in February.
Their recruitment over the summer was smart with both Moussa Diaby and Nicolo Zaniolo adding even more goals to an already impressive side. Similarly to Brighton a few weeks ago, Fulham may catch Aston Villa at good time with the hosts coming off the back of a European fixture in midweek.
How do we prepare?
I would make three changes to the side that narrowly lost to Manchester United last weekend with Sasa Lukic, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Carlos Vinicius coming in for Andreas Pereira, Harry Wilson and Rodrigo Muniz.
I think Aston Villa are going to control a lot of the ball so having both Lukic and Iwobi alongside Palhinha should allow us to be more physical in the midfield and also allow us to carry the ball forward more on the counter when we chances. De Cordova-Reid comes in purely from a defensive standpoint. I think we’ll be pegged back for large portions of the game and having someone more defensively minded could help. The Jamaican has also been more confident in front of goal than Wilson over the course of this season so far.
Poor Muniz he can’t catch a break can he? Some solid Carabao Cup performances rounded off with a goal against Ipswich meant he finally got a chance in the league only to come off in tears thanks to injury. Vinicius would start for me over Jimenez as I think on the ball, the Brazilian is probably the best option we have at striker in terms of linking play during the transition from defence to attack.
The final verdict
As I mentioned on this weeks ‘The Jack and Jack Show’ I’m really not confident. Aston Villa is one of the toughest grounds to go to at the moment and this will be a difficult ask for Fulham. I’m going to go with a win for the hosts.