Aston Villa-Fulham Preview
Marco Silva believes Fulham can buck their three-match winless streak when they welcome Aston Villa to face them at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Thursday.
The Cottagers have been struggling in recent games after something of a bright return to the top flight, with the London outfit setting out their stall in impressive fashion. But several sloppier performances have arrested their momentum, to leave them going without a victory across their past trio of games.
Silva sees their clash with a similarly struggling opponent as a chance to spin matters around.
"It's always a good opportunity to fight for the three points and to perform well, that is really important for us as well," he said. "At the same time, we know it is a tough challenge against a very good team with quality players. We have to perform at our best level if we want to get the three points. Some of the things we did in the last game we did in a very good way that we must keep doing.
"Some things we must improve. If we perform at our best level and avoid certain types of mistakes, of course we are able to win the match. I don't like (defensive problems). It is something we are all working to improve. I said we have to improve some things."
Opposite number Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, says he is determined to overcome this season's setbacks in form at Villa Park.
"I've had tough days. But tough days are OK because you need to use them as motivation for when better days come," he said. "I'm a young manager, I take that and this is a tough period. But it's a great challenge for me from a personal point of view.
"I want to prove to everyone I can change our situation. I'm here to fight. The reality is no one on the planet is more determined to change it more than myself."
Fulham – Aleksandar Mitrovic
The Serbia international has scored 50 league goals since the start of last season, with 29 of those coming in home games. Indeed, Mitrovic has netted nine goals in his last eight appearances at Craven Cottage.
Aston Villa – Philippe Coutinho
The Brazilian, a transformative presence when he first arrived at Villa Park, has struggled for form this season. If there is to be a turnaround for Gerrard's men, it will require the former Liverpool and Brazilian star to fire.
- Fulham lost 3-0 in their last home league game against Aston Villa in September 2020 – they've never lost consecutive home league games against the Villans before.
- Aston Villa won home and away Premier League games against Fulham the last time the sides met in 2020-21 – they last won three in a row against the Cottagers in October 2004.
- Aston Villa have won just two of their last nine Premier League games against promoted sides (D3 L4), with both of those victories coming against Norwich last season.
- Since the start of last season, Aston Villa have lost seven of their eight Premier League away games against London sides, with the exception being a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. They've conceded in each of their last 12 top-flight visits to the capital, but on the other hand have only failed to score in one of their last 17.
- Fulham have won just two of their last 17 midweek (Tues, Weds, Thurs) Premier League games (D7 L8), but did beat Brighton 2-1 in their only such game so far this term.
Updated October 19, 2022