Fulham travel to Villa Park on Saturday, knowing that they absolutely must beat Aston Villa to keep their faint hopes of another season in the Premier League alive (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).
With just one win in their last twelve outings, Fulham currently sit dead last, five points from safety. Their Premier League future is further complicated by the fact that West Brom and Crystal Palace both have a game in hand, while Sunderland still have two games to make up. Considering two managerial changes and the addition of six new players in the winter did nothing to bolster their chances, are the Cottagers dead and buried?
Perhaps not. After all, Villa are well known for being a team to break their opponents’ slumps. And with two consecutive 4-1 losses, this might be the time for Fulham to take advantage of their hosts – particularly now that Christian Benteke is out with a season-ending Achilles tear.
Villa are missing some major firepower, with Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph joining the aforementioned Benteke in the stands. Grant Holt steps in to seek his first goal with Aston Villa, joined by Matt Lowton, Joe Bennett and Nathan Baker. Will the hosts have any goals in them?
17-year-old Moussa Dembele doesn’t get the chance to start two consecutive matches, which is unfortunate as he was one of the few bright spots against Everton last weekend. Instead it’s another youngster, Cauley Woodrow, stepping in in front of on-loan Lewis Holtby.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand, Westwood, Bennett, Bacuna, Albrighton, Weimann, Holt
Subs: Steer, Sylla, Tonev, Clark, Robinson, Luna, Bowery
Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Heitinga, Amorebieta; Diarra, Sidwell; Kasami, Holtby, Richardson; Woodrow
Subs: Stekelenburg, Riise, Kvist, Kačaniklić, Rodallega, Dejagah, Roberts