Old foes renew battle as Fulham and Villa meet in FA Cup


In a repeat of the 2018 Championship play-off final, Fulham take on Aston Villa.

On that occasion, a Tom Cairney goal sealed a 1-0 win over the Villains to send Fulham into the top-flight.

One and a half years and a lot of money spent by both sides later, it’s Aston Villa who find themselves in the top flight with Fulham seeking promotion again after their relegation last campaign.

The nature of Fulham’s Premier League season has drawn comparison to Dean Smith’s side. After gaining promotion in 2o18, Fulham spent over £100 million but failed to stay up. By contrast, Villa spent over £120 million with many expecting a similar fate to the Cottagers.

The visitors currently sit just outside the Premier League relegation zone in 17th place after their recent win over Burnley, with Scott Parker’s Fulham currently fifth as they search to bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

The home side have only ever reached the final of the FA Cup on one occasion in 1975, losing 2-0 to West Ham; Aston Villa have won the trophy seven times in 1886-87, 1894-95, 1896-97, 1904-05, 1912-13, 1919-1920 and 1956-57.

Team news

Midfielders Harrison Reed and play-off hero Tom Cairney are both doubts, Cairney struggling after picking up a knock in Fulham’s win over Stoke.

Josh Onomah is ill and Steven Sessegnon is also likely to miss out.

Wesley and Tom Heaton have both suffered season-ending injuries for Smith’s Villa with rumours swirling on who may be brought in to replace them in the January transfer window.

John McGinn, Matt Targett, Jed Steer and Keinan Davis are also unlikely to feature.

Home manager Scott Parker insisted his side were excited for the tie despite the injuries in his squad:

“Our squad’s pretty light at this present moment in time because we’ve got so many injuries, so the fit players who are around it and in a state to play will be the boys who are out there.

“These are the moments that this team, and us as a football club, should be relishing. We’re up against a good team and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Away manager Dean Smith hinted at rotation ahead of the cup tie:

“The Carabao Cup games this season have shown the ones who don’t play in the Premier League the game before will play in the Cup game and that will be no different for this FA Cup.

“It comes on the back of five games in 16 days and an awful lot of games to come. We’ve got a semi-final Wednesday following as well, but one of the big things we spoke about in the summer was to bring in a squad of players.”




DRAWS – 22



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