Fresh off an enthralling 2-1 victory over Reading, Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa go for two wins in a row.
It took fourteen months to see an Aston Villa away win. Fourteen months! Compliments of a late Jordan Ayew penalty, Steve Bruce collected his first win as manager and four points from two matches.
Another winnable match presents itself Saturday afternoon. Mid-table side Fulham travel to Villa Park with the hopes of spoiling Bruce’s third match.
Like Aston Villa, Fulham are one of several ex-Premier League clubs seeking revival in the form of promotion. The Cottagers were relegated three seasons ago in 2014.
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Today’s Fulham features many notable players, including: Iceland centerback Ragnar Sigurðsson, whose heroic defending catapulted his nation to the UEFA European Championship quarter-finals. England central midfielder Scott Parker still captains the side; which also includes American Tim Ream, and the on-loan Chelsea pair Lucas Piazon and Tomáš Kalas.
Kalas is sidelined with a hamstring injury and should be the only player missing out for the London-based club.
Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards will both miss the game as they continue to recover from calf injuries. Albert Adomah faces a late fitness test to prove his availability.
PROJECTED ASTON VILLA XI (4-2-1-3): Gollini; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Jedinak, Gardner; McCormack; Bacuna, Kodjia, Ayew
Substitutes: Bunn, Cissokho, Westwood, Tshibola, Green, Gestede
The system Bruce uses could vary from anything, a 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, 4-4-3 etc.
System designation matters less than the overall shape and fluidity in which it plays. Ross McCormack could play a high “number ten ” role–interlinking the midfield to the attack. (side note, his dead ball skills are sorely missed when he is relegated to the bench).
Jordan Ayew probably deserves a start after drawing the penalty that won the match, and duly putting it away. With Adomah potentially missing out and Jack Grealish still suspended, a spot on the wing opens up for him to cut-in on his right foot.
For the love of everything that is holy in this world, Jordan Amavi better start over Aly Cissokho…
Gary Gardner continually draws both praise and criticism in his performances. His match at Reading, while started rough, eventually grew into a nearly man of the match performance.
Jonathan Kodjia will look to make it three goals in three games.
Kickoff is slated for 10A.M. Eastern Time.