Villa – Fulham; The REAL big one. Can we do it?

Well, here we are.
A one-off game that decides if we get back into the Premier league or not.
And maybe equally importantly, it decides if we get our hands on the minimum £170 million that the winner receives.
I’m seeing figures as high as £280 million, if we were to be promoted and stay up next season.
Either way, the figures are mind-boggling and it’s the richest football game in the world; even bigger than the game that follows shortly after.

Not that any of you need me to tell you that.
Or the fact that if we lose, we’re probably financially in trouble because of FFP.
I’m just seeing on the Beeb, that we’re guaranteed £35 million next season, if we fail to win this game.
That’s what’s at stake.

Which makes things all quite scary.

Team news first and our only doubt is Ahmed Elmohamady. The good news is that there’s a decent possibility that he might make it.
I hope so, as I feel he’ll be a much better option than Bree for this particular game.
Otherwise we’re all good and Steve Bruce has all his options to choose from.

Fulham are in an even better position, where they have no injuries worth worrying about.

Can we do it then?

Well, we have the right sort of manager and we have the right sort of experience in the side for getting promoted.
Whereas Fulham have a very poor record of getting promoted and their players have little, if any, experience of it.
Not that I’m convinced experience counts for much, although it certainly doesn’t hurt.

The single most important factor is which team turns up on the day (on both sides).
If either have an off day, they’ll probably lose. We just have to hope that it isn’t us.

I could rattle on about form and previous meetings, but I really don’t think it means much.
It seems the bookies have Fulham as clear favourites and if I was a neutral, I could see why.
But we all know that we were massive underdogs on that glorious day we won “Big ears”, so again, that means nothing, to my mind.

That said, Fulham are a good side that have goals in them and they do worry me.
Yet they’re nowhere unbeatable, as was demonstrated by Blues.
Certainly Fulham bottled it for that game and that would seem a massive plus in our favour.
Then again, we bottled it against Bolton and QPR, didn’t we?

We all know the team Steve Bruce will put out. There’s no chance he will change anything up.
So it all depends on how he decides to play the game.
I’m of the opinion that we need to take it to them from the off and try to get the first goal.
And then keep the pressure on, which I believe is our weakness.
We still seem prone to going too deep when we have the advantage, as I complained about against Middlesboro.
If we let them come at us, I just can’t see us not conceding.

If we sit back and they score first, well, while I might see us getting two, I’d probably see them also getting two or more.
And that’s the worry, in that if we have to chase the game, they have the quality and pace to pick us off.

If we keep at them and neither side gets a goal, so then, the game will become more and more interesting.
And no doubt even more nail-biting.
Hence I think the first goal will prove vital and we need to get it if we’re to win the game.

One big advantage we might have is that you know all the Villa fans who attend will be just that; Villa fans.
Whereas many of those in the Fulham end won’t be. They’ll be plastics or neutrals.

Whatever, I’m not going to predict the result as I really don’t know how it’s going to go.

The truth is though, that I hope the players are more confident than me, which I suspect they are.

There is something that I’ll be able to console myself with, should we lose, even though I’ll probably be heart-broken.
This game should not be being played and the team that finished third in the Championship should be promoted.
It’s as simple as that, even though it wouldn’t have suited us.

But seeing as we are playing it, I of course want us to win.



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  1. Bum Bum May 26, 2018 at 6:57 pm .

    Good game. Better than last years final. We just didn’t quite have enough…Proud Villans.

  2. Andrew May 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm .

    Look at all that experience we had. Even had players who’ve won play-off finals and still lost.

  3. Andrew May 26, 2018 at 7:02 pm .

    Xia’s going to have a nightmare summer now.

  4. marvin May 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm .

    Gutted – the stars did not align.

    The question now is how we recover without Johnstone, Terry, Hutton, Snodgrass, Grabban, +/- more in the starting 11 next season.

  5. Hitchens60 May 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm .

    OK I’m completely biased. Fulham probably deserved to win and did finish third BUT Fredericks should have been sent off in the first half and overall, for all Fulham’s vaunted playing style they are, imho a synical and dirty side. The ref gave us no protection.

    As I said, notwithstanding they probably deserved promotion but I hope they get truly stuffed in the Prem next season.

  6. DSVilla May 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm .

    Paid the price for Bruce’s cautious approach. Better second half but all a bit desperate.

    If we had gone for this at the start i really believe we would have won.

    If I was Xia I would put Bruce out of our misery.

  7. Hitchens60 May 26, 2018 at 7:42 pm .

    Seems a real problem posting Badger

  8. Sidforever May 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm .

    Dr Xia will have a self induced nightmare.

    Financial Fair Play is really going to rip into us. If he is feeling by glum about this, then he only need to hold the mirror up to himself about appointing Riveri DeMateo, allegedly against the wishes of the Villa advisers. How much money did he waste? What’s worse is he still has to pick up the tab for Micah Richards. The only positive I can think of is that he does not have his wages increased from £50 to £75k nor does McCormack pick up a £1m bonus.

  9. Bill Pearson May 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm .

    Gutted, where do we go from here? I don’t think calling for Bruce’s head will help, one stupid laps in defence cost us, Fulham had the luck of having a ref who was blind and favoured the cocknies, two blatant sending off was not given, you cannot play with refs like that. The FA should deal with players like they was.

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