This Saturday Aston Villa will be looking to bounce back from their defeat against Wolves as they take on Fulham at Villa Park. To get the lowdown on the Cottagers, who currently sit two places below Villa in ninth, I’ve enlisted the help of @thomasmcilroy.
Thomas McIlroy is a football writer and Fulham fan. His dad was a Chelsea fan and his mum was a Fulham fan, so he definitely chose the wrong club if he wanted glory! His work can be found on Football Whispers and he can often be found following the Whites around the country.
What were your expectations for Fulham going into the season?
I expected us to finish in the playoffs minimum. We ended last season as the best footballing team in the league and we’d kept pretty much all of the team together. It was the most confident I’d been for a while (other than the season after our relegation when I thought we’d go back up at the first attempt, I’m sure many Villa fans thought the same last season and look how wrong we were!)
How would you rate your season so far out of 10 and why?
6/10. We haven’t won anywhere near as many as I’d hope but we’ve only really had Tom Cairney fit for one game, and we destroyed Ipswich in that. If we hadn’t lost 2-1 to Burton, I’d be a lot happier, but that showed we are nowhere near as clinical as we need to be. We’re not in a bad position for a promotion push though, but we haven’t lived up to pre-season expectation.
Which Fulham players should Villa be wary of?
Our midfield three of Cairney, Stefan Johansen and Kevin McDonald is the best in the Championship for me. They complement each other well and while Johansen and Cairney take a lot of plaudits, it’s McDonald who sits at the base of the trio and is probably the most crucial to how we play.
If you were Slavisa Jokanovic and had to sign Aston Villa player for the Cottagers, who would it be?
We need a striker who can score. Rui Fonte and Aboubakar Kamara don’t look like 20-goal-a-season strikers so I’d quite like Jonathan Kodjia or Scott Hogan, they’d definitely score loads for us.
Where do you see Villa finishing this season and why?
Top six. You’ve got the squad to do well. I just hope if we meet you in the playoffs we win!
Score prediction for Saturday?
2-2. It’ll be 2-1 going into injury time and well either score or concede a late equaliser, we love late goals at either end.