With the club’s decision-makers already rumoured to be sounding out possible replacements behind the scenes, Steven Gerrard needs a swift turnaround in fortunes at Aston Villa starting with this evening’s fixture at Fulham. The Cottagers have lost just once at home since their promotion, however, while the Villains have yet to post a victory on the road. Could this be Gerrard’s last stand as Villa boss?
Below, we’ve put reams of useful info on shots, cards, corners, xG and more for this evening’s game into an easy-to-read stats pack. Hopefully, you’ll find our research and my Stats Pack Guide of value when piecing together your bet builders for the match later on.
Layvin Kurzawa, Manor Solomon and Kenny Tete are all out injured for Fulham, while Nathaniel Chalobah is still suspended following his dismissal against Newcastle.
Marco Silva is expected to stick with his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation against Aston Villa this evening.
Diego Carlos, Boubacar Kamara, Lucas Digne, Ludwig Augustinsson and Cameron Archer are all in the treatment room for Aston Villa at present.
The Villains produced a decent performance against Chelsea at the weekend despite their eventual defeat and Steven Gerrard might be tempted to stick with the same players against Fulham.
Fulham will be pleased with their early haul of 12 points from ten games, though their recent return of just one victory from five assignments is a concern.
Only three clubs in the division are conceding more goals per 90 minutes than the Cottagers (2.00), while the team’s shots on target against (5.60) and corners against figures (5.40) per 90 are also on the high side. Only Nottingham Forest have collected more cards than Fulham so far (29).
Aston Villa drew a blank for the fourth time this season when they lost 2-0 to Chelsea on Sunday, though they did create 2.45 xG against the Blues and were perhaps unfortunate to not register a consolation.
Villa’s overall 0.70 goals per 90 minutes is a dismal return for a squad that contains some talented attacking players however, and it’s easy to see why Steven Gerrard is under such pressure.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Fulham talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic (1.79 SOT p/90) has been an explosive force at centre-forward this season and no other Cottager comes close to matching his numbers in the final third.
Andreas Pereira (1.44 shots per/90) likes a ping from distance, as does Portuguese anchorman Joao Palhinha (1.12 shots p/90). Both midfielders lodged strikes on goal against Bournemouth in Fulham’s last game.
Ollie Watkins (3), Danny Ings (5) and Leon Bailly (2) mustered ten attempts between them against Chelsea on Sunday without finding the net, much to Steven Gerrard’s frustration.
Coutinho (2.59 shots per 90) managed one effort off the bench against the Blues, while Scottish midfielder John McGinn racked up three attempts in the same game. Watkins is Villa’s best performer in the shots on target stakes this term (0.97 SOT p/90), though he failed to test Kepa Arrizabalaga at the weekend.
Player Goals and Assists
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his seventh goal of the season from the spot against Bournemouth last week. Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Joao Palhinha are the Cottagers’ next-best goal-getters with two each, though Reid has notched just one in his last seven appearances.
Kenny Tete and Neeskens Kebano are tied at the top of the assists charts with three each, while Andreas Pereira has provided three goal contributions (1G, 2A) from his position at number ten.
Seven different Aston Villa players have chipped in with a single goal each this term and Ashley Young was the latest to join the roll of honour with his stunner against Nottingham Forest last week.
Ollie Watkins has two assists, which makes him Villa’s most creative player, though Ashley Young has played more key passes per game (1.3) than any of his teammates.
Fulham’s team is full to the brim with excellent card candidates, especially in midfielder where hard-hitting duo Joao Palhinha (5 cards) and Harrison Reed (4 cards) form a rough-and-tumble combo for the Cottagers.
At the back, Bobby De Cordova-Reid (4 cards) is prone to a nibble, while Aleksandar Mitrovic (3 cards) is notoriously combative at centre-forward.
All eyes should be on midfield this evening, where Villa’s Jacob Ramsey (fouled 2.47 times p/90) and livewire Scot John McGinn (fouled 1.80 times p/90) will wage war against Fulham’s Palhinha and Reed. Referee Michael Oliver should have plenty of work to get through in the midst of those skirmishes.
Ezri Konsa meanwhile (fouled 2.00 times per/90) will have to absorb plenty of blows from Fulham’s battering ram, Aleksandar Mitrovic, in Villa’s defensive third.
Match-Ups to watch
Joao Palhinha vs Jacob Ramsey
Harrison Reed vs John McGinn
Aleksandar Mitrovic vs Ezri Konsa
Aston Villa Cards
As we highlighted above, the midfield battle at Craven Cottage has the potential to produce plenty of tackles, fouls and hopefully cards this evening, especially with bookings magnets Jacob Ramsey (4 cards) and John McGinn (2.25 fouls p/90) involved.
However, in both fullback positions, the chances of cards being brandished feel just as high. Matty Cash (2 cards) and Ashley Young (2) will have pace and direct running to deal with, so expect some mistimed challenges.
Neeskens Kebano (fouled 2.20 times per/90) has enough in his locker to trouble most fullbacks and his tussles with Matty Cash today should be of interest. On the opposite side, veteran Ashley Young won’t relish facing the searing pace of Welsh winger Dan James (1.85).
As one of Fulham’s key creators, Andreas Pereira (fouled 1.22 times per/90) should find the aggressive John McGinn tracking his movements in London.
Match-Ups to watch
Matty Cash vs Neeskens Kebano
Ashley Young vs Dan James
John McGinn vs Andreas Pereira