Aston Villa vs Fulham: Grealish to impress on return or will Lilywhites boost survival hopes?

Fulham's battle to avoid relegation continues this weekend with a game against Aston Villa. Jack Grealish returns for the hosts and will be looking to help his side end their four match winless run.

When: Sunday, April 4, 16:30 GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event

Best bets

Aston Villa to win and both teams to score at 4/1 (bet365)

Total goals between two and three at 21/20 (Betvictor)

Jack Grealish to score anytime at 11/4 (SkyBet)

Dean Smith demands more consistency as Aston Villa relaunch bid for Europe
Dean Smith demands more consistency as Aston Villa relaunch bid for Europe

Aston Villa enter the final stretch of the season in a comfortable mid-table position. However, with the return of Jack Grealish, Villa will undoubtedly want to push for a top six finish and a possible Europa League spot.

Dean Smith's men have ten games left to try and achieve their European dream. It all begins this weekend against Fulham.

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With games against Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea still to come, a win over the Lilywhites is paramount if they are to challenge for Europa League football. 

However, beating Fulham is certainly a lot easier said than done. Scott Parker's men are desperate to avoid relegation and have produced a number of strong performances in recent weeks. 

Last Three Meetings

Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa (Premier League - September 28, 2020)

When these two teams last met, it was Villa who took all three points in a relatively easy outing at Craven Cottage.

Jack Grealish opened the scoring in the opening five minutes before Conor Hourihane doubled Villa's lead shortly after. Tyrone Mings then ensured victory with a goal in the second half.

Interestingly, Fulham dominated possession in that game but failed to convert their opportunities.

Villa, on the other hand, were as clinical as you can get having turned three of their five shots on target into goals.

Fulham 2-1 Aston Villa (FA Cup - January 4, 2020)

Fulham's last win over Villa came over a year ago in the FA Cup. Two men who no longer play for the Lilywhites scored the winning goals as Scott Parker's men booked their place in the fourth round of the competition.

Anthony Knockaert opened the scoring at Craven Cottage however, Fulham were quickly pegged back courtesy of an equaliser from Anwar El Ghazi.

Parker decided to bring on Harry Arter from the bench and his substitute worked wonders as he bagged the winner in the 74th minute. The 31-year-old found the top corner with a blistering strike from 30 yards.

Unfortunately for Fulham, they drew Man City in the following round and dropped out of the competition after a 4-0 defeat.

Aston Villa 0-1 Fulham (Championship - May 26, 2018)

One of the most memorable meetings between these two clubs in recent years came at Wembley stadium back in 2018.

The two sides clashed in the Championship play-off final and it was Fulham who prevailed on that day.

Tom Cairney's firs half goal proved to be the difference despite the fact that Fulham played the remaining 20 minutes with only ten men.

Scott Parker's side celebrated their return to the Premier League however, Villa joined them a season later.

Last ten head-to-head meetings

Aston Villa wins: 3

Draws: 1

Fulham wins: 6

Aston Villa goals: 10

Fulham goals: 14

Fulham need to turn performances into results

Are Fulham amongst the three worst teams in the league? No.

Nevertheless, Scott Parker's men are currently in the relegation zone for one main reason - a clear and obvious lack of goals. 

Take their last outing against Leeds as an example. Marcelo Bielsa's men are known for their furious attacking style but the Whites were unable to spread their wings so easily at Craven Cottage.

Antonee Robinson fighting for the ball in the game against Leeds
Antonee Robinson fighting for the ball in the game against Leeds

Fulham enjoyed more possession, more attempts on goal, more passes and more dangerous attacks. But at the end of the day, none of this mattered. The scoreboard read 2-1 to Leeds after 90 minutes and despite al their efforts, Fulham were left empty handed.

Becoming more clinical in front of goal is the only way Fulham can avoid relegation. With eight games to go, Parker's men could easily escape the bottom three but getting at least a point this weekend will be paramount.

Eight games to save their season

Aston Villa, Wolves, Arsenal, Chelsea, Burnley, Southampton, Man United and Newcastle. These upcoming eight games will define Fulham's season.

Fulham manager Scott Parker
Fulham manager Scott Parker

Fixtures with likes of Wolves, Burnley, Southampton and Newcastle are all games in which the Lilywhites must target all three points.

However, any additional points from the remaining games on that list - including the upcoming one with Aston Villa - would hugely boost their survival hopes.

Goalscorer bets

Jack Grealish is set to make his return this weekend after missing six games through injury. Aston Villa only managed one win without the midfielder and his comeback will come as a major boost for Dean Smith's side.

Grealish scored on his last outing against Fulham and he's well priced to do so again. At 11/4 he's well worth a play - especially at Villa Park.

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