Fulham – Villa; Perhaps the ultimate test? I’m surprisingly confident

So with me worrying somewhat that we might not be able to sustain our run against the Blues, it would seem we actually performed really well, with us dominating the game and grabbing a well-deserved 3 points that kept the momentum going.
The good news for me was the continuing fact that we don’t need to rely on the strikers these days and it seems goals are likely to come from any of our players, which is always a good sign.
I won’t harp on about that game, as although it was a great result, so it’s gone and we move on to another very tough test against Fulham, at the Cottage.

Squad news first and Albert Adomah has a tight hamstring, while Jack Grealish suffered a knock on the calf.
Both are quite a bit doubtful, but my guess is they’ll be itching to play and probably will do, unless they’re over-ruled.
It’s amazing how differently players feel, when they’re playing well and the team’s on a roll.

Fulham will have a late look at captain Tom Cairney, after a niggling knee injury.
Otherwise, both squads are pretty much ok.

It’s interesting to note that many of us see Fulham as perhaps the major threat to the Villa taking second place in the league.
It’s a view that I concur with, as they’re playing some nice footy and have won their last six games at home.

But I wonder how many of us knew that Fulham face six of the top eight Championship teams in the next three weeks?
I certainly didn’t and if they come through that particularly well, they’ll definitely be challenging.
I’m minded to think that it’s a big ask though and it may be a chance for us to gain some more daylight between us and them, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

If you’d asked me a few months ago how we’d get on in this fixture, I’d probably have said that we have very little chance and the draw would be the best we could hope for.
But following on from the “Can you see it now?” post, I now think our chances are better than that.

While I don’t think we’re anywhere near perfect, we’re a much more cohesive outfit these days.
There’s a resilience about the defence and the team seems much more “together” than it’s been for a very long time.
All in all, it makes us very tough to beat.

But that doesn’t mean that we should sit back and try to nick the point, at all.
Fulham have the guile to unlock the tightest of defences and they will, if you let them.

Fortunately, I think Bruce has a lot more confidence in the team these days and will not shackle the side.
The players are brimming with confidence too and I’m sure they’ll try to take it to Fulham, as best they can.
If we can keep them on the back foot, I’d be quite confident of us actually winning this.

But I’m not going to take that extra step in predicting a win.
This is a really tough game, I reckon and if we can nick the win, it might actually be a game-changer in my outlook.
But given that I can’t pick my nose, let alone the right result, I’m going for the draw.

I suspect we’ll concede.

So 1-1 it is.
And I’d happily take that.


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  1. Holte 66 February 18, 2018 at 11:37 am . Reply

    Just looked at Fulham’s next half a dozen games and if they are in top four after those games they will be definite favourites for 2nd. Even though we lost yesterday we should have an opportunity to put pressure on those around us. I did think Cardiff would fade away but they are proving everyone wrong. Does anyone know if Grealish and Adomah will be fit for Tuesday? I heard Elmo went off injured and is doubtful.

    1. nath February 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm . Reply

      bruce said after the game that adomah will not be fit for tuesday. not sure if he means both wont or he just said adomah.

      we need to change the style if grealish is again absentee. playing in the same way but without grealish will not work.

      i thought the utd loanee had a good game when you consider the level of his direct opponent he was up against. i think he had him in his pocket except for their first goal, which Sessegnon pealed away from him and scored.

  2. Steve February 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm . Reply

    I know we won 7 on the trot which is great but with the exception of his goal against blues idon’t think houriane contributes muchtothe team. With grealish possibly out again i think the only player close to him in passing ability (if given a free role) is young O’hare. He also has a high work rate.

    1. Owen February 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm . Reply

      Hourihane should be dropped- been poor for a while. Maybe 442 with Grabban and Hogan Tuesday?

  3. Holte 66 February 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm . Reply

    I read an article that both players unlikely for midweek game. We will have to change our style with maybe Grabban alongside Hogan or Davis as a target man to feed off. Whatever Bruce does I hope he has options on bench to mix it up if things not working out. Put O’hare on bench instead of Whelan. We don’t need him if Jedinak and Bjarnasson are available. It would be a waste in fact to block promising youngsters getting opportunities.

  4. Benno February 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm . Reply

    Was not a great performance yesterday. Fulham definitely deserved the win.

    Not having Grealish was a big loss, but we have enough depth in our squad to put in better displays than that. Tuanzabe put in a really good shift at RB especially up against Sessegnon.

    Really important that we bounce back and get 3 points on Tuesday now. Its gonna be a hard fought race for 2nd place!

  5. Hitchens60 February 18, 2018 at 8:05 pm . Reply

    Risk is for us to over react to yesterday’s loss.

    SB has said that Adomah will not be fit Tuesday and ‘they will have to see on Grealish’ – so I suspect both will be missing again. Elmo is also doubtful.

    If Elmo is out we need someone to play LW or we need to change our game plan to perhaps a 4-4-2. I agree that Hourihane hasn’t been on top of his game but with our injuries he has to play. Assuming Grealish / Elmo along with Adomah not fit, I would move Hutton to RB and bring Taylor back at LB. Tuan what’s his name or Thor can pair up with Jedinak as defensive mids with Hourihane and Lansbury or Bjarnisson playing attacking mids. Grabben and Hogan up front or am I deluded. Answers on the back of a postage stamp!

  6. Bill Pearson February 18, 2018 at 8:10 pm . Reply

    That now worries me, Grealish not fit? hopefully that is a manager trying to throw the opposition .I still think we don’t have the players to drive us forwards, Houihane not the answer, Bjarnasson ? not creative enough , I know I go on about the youngsters but I look at it like this, at 18 your a man, at twenty your old enough, if that’s not true how on earth was they then heroes In our wars,
    Don’t treat them youngsters like children use them , they know its the future and bust a gut to show it., if Grealish can do it so can others at that age.Bruce pay attention to your reserves, go and watch to see what you have. Shit that whisky going down well…🍺🍺👍

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