The FA Cup at Fulham, video and facts

Football is about winning matches that ultimately result in winning silverware. And I've long written that I'd take a boring 1-0 every week if it meant we won. I might turn into a plastic supporter and start moaning that the quality of the football needed to get better, but I don't think that would happen, not if we we were winning.

And if you ask an Arsenal fan right now if they'd take it, most would bite your hand off. For the younger readers, I use Arsenal because Arsenal used to be that team under George Graham while it wasn't pretty, it was fairly predictable and they won things.

I suspect I've written this next part before also, but I'd take winning the FA Cup if it meant getting relegated. That's how important winning matches and picking up silverware is for me.

But it's also because I think we're a long way from winning the Premier League and the best season we've had in a generation was the last one and we only really scraped into the Premier League. So while I've probably also written in the past that I wouldn't mind playing a second team and losing so we could focus on the League, this is my position today.

And I'd like to think that we approach this game in the same way. And I also think the game today will be good for us because it is going to come down to who wants it more. This is a Championship game today and I think we should be best suited for it. I think we can go out there and I think we can beat Fulham and that will also be good for us. Behavior breeds behavior. Winning is a behavior.

And yes, I'm pulling out all the classics today.

But today is also a little frustrating because it's the first game after we have lost Wes and it's a game after it started to look like we were playing to his strengths, if only for 30 minutes. By this, I mean for half an hour against Burnley it looked like, to me anyway, that we wanted to get more crosses in he was going to get more chances as a striker, even if he did end up on the wing or dropping back a little too much for my liking.

It does create an opportunity for someone else though and I suspect it will be Kodjia. And while I think he is too greedy a player for us, I think the way Dan Smith plays, it's probably not a bad thing. Especially if he passes a little more. I also quite like Nyland and while sad for Heaton, I think we've got a good keeper that will be more than good enough.

There might be a change or two on top of those two, but again this is Fulham from the Championship and while they are doing okay, I think we should have enough to beat them. Incidentally and because I've referred to it a couple of times, have you seen how well Brentford are doing? It's food for thought.

Match facts from the BBC

  • Fulham and Aston Villa last met in the FA Cup in January 1999, with the Cottagers winning 2-0 at Villa Park as a third-tier side.
  • This is the first meeting between Fulham and Aston Villa since the 2018 Championship play-off final, a 1-0 win for Fulham at Wembley.
  • Fulham have been eliminated at the FA Cup third round stage in three of the last four seasons, having reached the fourth round in the seven seasons prior to that.
  • Since reaching the 2016 FA Cup final, Aston Villa have progressed from just one of their five FA Cup ties, beating League Two side Wycombe Wanderers in January 2016.
  • Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has only reached the fourth round once previously in eight previous campaigns as a manager, doing so in 2016-17 with Brentford. He has lost his past three FA Cup games by an aggregate score of 8-0.

The video