Aston Villa vs Fulham
So, it's a final game of the Championship playoffs, Aston Villa against Fulham on the neutral field, Wembley stadium.
For both sides it's extremely important to win today and thus to earn the spot in the Premier League for the next season. Cause, competing with best teams in the highest rank will bring huge amount on money and this is exactly what both of these two need, especially Aston Villa.
Have in mind team from Birmingham is near the financial collapse. If they fail today, Aston Villa would be in really big problems. They will remain without best players (like John Terry for example) who would leave the club, few the most talented younger would be sell to other teams too... There are rummors this team even would need to sell it's training center if failed to qualify for the Premiere League. The bottom line, Aston Villa probably is going to break financial fairplay if lose today and thus would need to sell almost everything that worth while they would not be allowed to buy new players.
So, clearly there is big pressure on the team from Birmingham, the future of this great club is on the line.
Fulham also need this badly. Cause if they fail, we can expect big declaine in the future. I mean on the ambitions and thus also on the quality of their squad in the upcoming seasons. It's question whether coach Jokanovic would agree to stay here, there is no way Fulham would be able to keep it's best player Aleksandar Mitrovic if failed to qualfy. Namely, Mitrovic is on loan from Newcastle and only if Fulham play PL next season they can hope to maybe buy Mitrovic contract from Newcastle.
Fulham as 6th placed in last season also competed in the playoffs but failed back then. If they fail again, I wouldn't be surprised if we see them next season near the bottom on the Championship.
But honestly, I feel it's much bigger pressure on Aston Villa. Cause, Fulham played last time Premier League some five years ago, they are one of minor London's team, probably with the least fans, if they earn promotion they will be back down to Championship very soon...Simply they are not great club and they got used on these ups and downs.
But Aston Villa is one of greatest English clubs ever, seven times champion, once even European champion. And they are now in danger to experience similar destiny as Nottingham Forest.
From that much bigger imperative for Aston Villa, I feel they could choke while Fulham could be more relaxed and play it's best game.
Fulham best game IMO should be enough to earn promotion. First, note Fulham is with complete squad available unlike Aston Villa who has quite few absences, some more and some less important.
Second, Fulham was in amazing form in second part of the season and was on a 23 games long streak without loss (18-5-0) before they lost in the final round of the regular season.
I think Fulham also showed much more in the semifinals of this playoffs.
Aston Villa eliminated Middlesbrough with 1:0 on aggregate score but was not impressive too much, at least not for me.
On the other side, it's true Fulham lost the first leg back then away at Derby (1:0) but easily overcome that deficit in the returned leg at home. Also note that away loss was really unfortunate. Fulham also in the mentioned game was way better, they dominated probably even more than in the second leg. It's enough to mention 75-25% ball possession. But it was one of those days when the ball simply don't want go into net while opponent score from only two to three shots they had.
Conclusion, Fulham was and is a team in better form, they are a team with a little bit less imperative that should result with high quality game from their part. And finally playing on Wembley stadium in London is definitely more road game for Aston Villa than for London side like Fulham.
World's leading bookmaker
Aston Villa vs Fulham prediction
|Fulham 1x2||Bet365||2.45||8||0-1 WON (+11.6 units)|