In what is a repeat of the 2017/2018 Championship play-off final, Fulham will welcome Aston Villa to Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon with a spot in the fourth round of this year’s FA Cup up for grabs this weekend.
While the Cottagers might still remain at the heart of yet another play-off charge, the Londoners could only slump to a shock 2-1 defeat against Reading on New Year’s Day and have begun to show some signs of inconsistencies.
On the flip side, after making a much-needed return to winning ways earlier in the week with what was a deserved 2-1 win away at Burnley, Villa are desperate to build off of that result and improve on what is a fragile atmosphere in the Midlands.
However, while the Premier League outfit might have won two of their last three top-tier appearances, do they hold some worrying memories against Saturday’s hosts.
With Fulham snatching a 1-0 win against Villa when they faced off at Wembley back in May 2018, the Cottagers have landed back-to-back victories over Dean Smith’s men and a similar outcome can be found at 23/20 with Betfair.
Parker calls on consistency
While many across the Championship had expected Fulham to open the New Year by making a statement against Reading in West London, the Whites could only slump to a 2-1 defeat in a performance Head Coach Scott Parker branded as “not good enough”.
Despite opening 2020 sat fifth in the Championship standings and still seen to be one of the leading contenders to clinch a top-six finish, the former England midfielder has seen his men record just a pair of victories in their last seven attempts.
If Fulham are to pick up a Premier League scalp and improve the atmosphere around Craven Cottage, there is no doubt that Parker will be calling on leading marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic to lead their charge this weekend.
Although the one-time Newcastle striker has failed to find the net in back-to-back appearances for the first time since November, the Serbian ace leads the race for the Championship Golden Boot and remains a huge threat for Fulham.
Already recording 26 goals for club and country this season, Mitrovic has seven goals in his last 10 domestic appearances and can be found priced at 13/10 with Paddy Power to find the net this weekend.
Grealish steals the show
Putting in what could be a season-best display and picking up a 2-1 win away at Burnley in what was being billed as a real six-pointer, Head Coach Dean Smith has seen his side find a route out of the drop zone.
With an EFL Cup semi-final on the horizon, one man who really stole the show on New Year’s Day and will play a vital part in Villa’s safety charge will undoubtedly be attacking MVP, Jack Grealish.
Bagging what turned out to be the winner at Turf Moor earlier in the week and also picking up an assist, the 24-year-old has four goals in his last eight appearances and is heavily tipped for a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Grealish scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season – as many as he netted in 31 matches in the Championship last year.
You might be interested to know that the Villa skipper can be found pencilled in at 5/2 with William Hill to find the net in back-to-back matches this weekend.