Aston Villa v Fulham Betting Preview, Tips & Odds | 26th May
In our Aston Villa v Fulham betting preview, we look at team news, potential line-ups, stats and facts, popular bets and more for Saturday’s Championship play-off final.
Aston Villa v Fulham Betting Preview, Tips & Odds
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Watch: SkySports Football
It’s all come down to this. These two sides were the best of the rest after automatically promoted duo Wolves and Cardiff and they have one match to fight it out for that third and final promotion spot. Fulham made life hard for themselves going 1-0 down in the first leg at Derby, however they piled on the pressure in the return leg at the Cottage and that pressure told as the club on the Thames pulled off a 2-0 win to see them progress. Villa, on the other hand, went through with surprising ease against Middlesborough. Steve Bruce got his tactics spot on in both legs with Australian anchor Mile Jedinak protecting an excellent back four, there was simply no way through for ‘Boro. Having said that Tony Pulis’ side failed to muster any serious attempts on Sam Johnstone’s goal over both legs and it was probably more comfortable than the aggregate scoreline suggested.
Fulham come into this final as favourites at 7/5 to win in the 90 minutes, that’s understandable given their underlying performance data has shown them to be a top-two side this season. Slavisa Jokanovic has had them playing possession football, generally attacking and technically very good but until January they were struggling to put sides away; something was lacking in the Cottagers artillery. Jokanovic made a major move in that transfer window bringing in Serbian striker Aleksander Mitrovic, the fiery front-man brought bite and a clinical edge to the side, he was the missing part of the jigsaw and I believe if they had him all season they’d have probably pipped Cardiff to 2nd place.
Many talk about the craft and creativity of Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen as well as the exciting young talent of Ryan Sessengnon and rightly so, all have made major contributions to the club this season but there’s one player that I think has been overlooked this season. Scotsman Kevin McDonald has patrolled this side all season, an experienced player who dictates play and makes Fulham tick, his positional awareness allows the aforementioned midfielders to express themselves in the final third of the pitch. Expect Fulham to dominate possession here with the impressive McDonald at the centre of it, starting off the attacks.
Steve Bruce has been there and done it in the Championship before gaining promotions with Hull and Birmingham. He brings his Aston Villa side into this after a fairly consistent season but one that’s certainly picked up since December, defensively they’ve been pretty sound and Bruce has worked out his best and most balanced starting XI which has helped. Villa fans were bemused by some of his Saturday-Tuesday squad rotation earlier in the season but on the whole he has done a decent job.
Going through their squad they have quality in depth which matches that of Fulham, when fully fit they have some serious threats in the forward areas in Lewis Grabban, Scott Hogan and the recently returned Jonathon Kodjia. On the flanks they have the pacey Albert Adomah and a red hot Jack Grealish as well as the superb delivery of Robert Snodgrass, all players that possess on-the-ball quality but in the two ties against Middlesborough it was their work ethic and defensive discipline that stood out, especially from Grealish who’s temperament and attitude has been called into question over recent years. Full back Alan Hutton was showered with praise from pundits for his man-marking job on one of the most threatening wingers in the league in Adama Traore but it has to be said that Adomah’s willingness and boundless energy to get back and help out aided this.
Bruce will have looked at the Derby performance in the first leg against Fulham and try to recreate that, from a defensive viewpoint at least. He has proven he has the players capable to carry this out but it will be a much sterner test than Middlesborough.
Looking at the pre-match prices I think if there is any value in it then it would be with Villa, it’s a tough one to call on the 90 minute market and I wouldn’t be surprised with any of the 3 outcomes. We can get Villa with a +0.25 start on the asian handicap at a smidgen under evens and that looks attractive as I’d want to get the draw on-side here, this bet would see a full payout if Villa win in 90 minutes and a half payout if it ends all square, the only way we would lose money is if Fulham won in 90 minutes.
Historically, championship play off finals are cagey affairs with so much at stake. Last year saw one of the worst as Reading lost out on penalties to Huddersfield with not a single goal scored in 120 minutes, it’s regularly pointed out as the ‘£90 million game’ and that’s been showed in the reluctance to allow any risks from teams in years gone by. Each Championship play off semi-final saw under 2.5 goals and none were BTTS so that, coupled with the historical data draws my eyes straight to under 2.5 goals which is best price 3/4 with Blacktype.
Ahmed Elmohamedy will have a late fitness test, whilst Alan Hutton should continue to deputise at left-back due to Neil Taylor’s hamstring problem. Goalkeeper Jed Steer and Axel Tuanzebe are unlikely to feature.
Fulham’s Sheyi Ojo is out and while Floyd Ayite is back from a hamstring problem.
Potential Aston Villa Starting XI: Johnstone, Bree, Terry, Chester, Hutton, Grealish, Jedinak, Hourihane, Snodgrass, Adomah, Grabban.
Potential Fulham Starting XI: Betinelli, Christie, Ream, Odoi, Targett, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Sessengnon, Kamara, Mitrovic.
Stats & Facts
- 5 out of the last 5 championship play off finals have seen under 2.5 goals.
- 4 of those 5 have also seen under 1.5 goals.
- 6 of the current Aston Villa squad have tasted victory at Wembley.
- No EFL play off final has a team shorter than 5/4.
- Aston Villa – 5/2
- Draw – 9/4
- Fulham – 7/5
- Fulham to win – 7/5
- Mitrovic To Score first – 43/10
- Under 2.5 goals – 3/4 (Blacktype)
- Aston Villa +0.25 asian handicap – 28/29 (BetVictor)