After playing 48 matches each in the Championship, Aston Villa and Fulham are still one match away from the Premier League. But, it’s the most important match of the season. Played at the Wembley, this game will decide which of these two teams will play in the top English flight in the season 2018/2018. There’s so much at stake here as the playoff final is known as the “the richest game in football”, as the winners could leave the Wembley with additional 160 mil Euro on their bank account.
After finishing the season at the fourth place, just behind Fulham, Aston Villa went to play against Middlesbrough in the playoffs. It was 1:0 Aston Villa in the first part of the double-header, the match that was played at Middleborough’s Riverside Stadium. The match played in Birmingham needed in a goalless draw, which isn’t a big surprise, cause Aston Villa have been featuring in a lot of low-scoring games for the past couple of months.
Truth be told, they did win some games with a big margin, although not against teams as strong as Fulham. In tougher matches, Aston Villa tend to stay on the back foot, keeping their net protected with all they got. And it seems that this kind of approach is working – Aston Villa allowed only five goals since March!
When it comes to scoring, Aston Villa have scored the third-highest number of goals in the Championship. Their top scorer is Albert Adomah, with 14 goals to his name. With three goals fewer, their second-best scorer is Conor Hourihane. Interestingly enough, both of these two players are actually midfielders, while their most prolific striker has been Lewis Grabban.
Speaking of Grabban, he’s scored eight goals in 17 matches, but he’s joined the club in January. Before that, he played for Sunderland, where he scored 12 goals. So, in total, Grabban has 20 Championship goals this season, which puts him on the second place on the top-scorer list.
So, obviously, Aston Villa have plenty of talent in the squad, so it won’t be a big surprise if they manage to see Fulham off.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s boys have been playing fantastic football this season, going for goal in every single match, regardless of who the opponent is. The manager himself has admitted that there won’t be any change of plan in the playoff final – they will try to score as many goals as possible.
Actually, goal-scoring has been their main weapon this season. In the regular part of the Championship, they scored 79 goals, which is only three less than Wolves, who absolutely dominated the competition. The man who deserves the most praise for Fulham’s amazing performances is Ryan Sessegnon. The 17-year-old full-back turned winger has scored 16 goals this season, which makes him the team’s most-prolific scorer.
But, since January, there’s one more guy in charge of scoring goals for Fulham. I’m talking about Aleksandar Mitrovic, a Newcastle loanee who’s scored 12 goals in 19 matches in Fulham shirt. Speaking of Mitrovic, it seems we’re gonna witness a real battle on Saturday between him and Aston Villa captain, John Terry. Both lads are known for their short temper, as well as immense strength and prowess in aerial duels.
Aston Villa absentees:
- Axel Tuanzebe (injury)
- Jed Steer (injury)
- Gabriel Agbonlahor (doubtful)
- Neil Taylor (doubtful)
- Ahmed Elmohamady (doubtful)
- Sheyi Ojo (doubtful)
Johnstone – Chester, Terry, Bree, Hutton – Jedinak, Hourihane, Grealish, Snodgrass, Adomah – Grabban
Bettinelli – Ream, Odoi, Fredericks, Targett – Cairney, McDonald, Johansen – Sessegnon, Kamara, Mitrovic
Aston Villa vs. Fulham Match Prediction
I think we’re gonna see Aston Villa playing in the Premier League next season. I really think that this team has the defense that can keep Fulham’s attackers at bay. Furthermore, Aston Villa do have a bunch of quality players up front, most of which have plenty of experience with playing big games.
Aston Villa vs. Fulham Betting Tips
- Aston Villa to Get Promoted @2.20 (Unibet)