Game night: Aston Villa at Fulham

I asked the question the other day and I'll ask it again. Is this a must win match for Steven Gerrard? Papers are suggesting he has two games and isn't it fair to assume that if that is true and we don't win tonight, that the next game is irrelevant?

I know that some are not going to like this next part, but I believe he needs more time so the question isn't for me, it's for the papers and social media. But I can't help but think that if he doesn't win tonight, the axe will come down. Not from the CEO, but from the owners. I don't think our owner would know how to do it.

That written, I believe a lot depends on who the manager picks tonight. The side he picked against Chelsea should be given another chance in my opinion and the reasons the manager dropped Coutinho still stand as far as I'm concerned. Sure, he is talented and sure, it's still there somewhere, but at the same time, players lose the desire sometimes and if it was easy to understand why and fix, we'd be able to explain why it happens.

But it is happening with Coutinho. Arguably, it happened years ago when he thought the grass was greener in Spain. It's not really come back and until it really does, he should remain on the bench. Buendia on the other hand should be the first player he brings on at half time, if we're not winning. And if he changes the game, he should be starting behind Ings and Watkins.

Tonight is a big game for Gerrard and Aston Villa. I'll be back with team news soon.

The manager

Match facts from the BBC


  • Aston Villa can equal their longest league winning streak versus Fulham of three games from 2003 to 2004.
  • Villa's 3-0 Premier League win at Craven Cottage in September 2020 ended a five-match away losing streak against Fulham in all competitions.


  • A Fulham win would give them 11 points from their six home league fixtures this season, one more than they managed in the entirety of their most recent Premier League campaign in 2020-21.
  • In Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, Fulham ended a run of 18 consecutive Premier League home defeats when conceding the first goal.
  • They have gone eight top-flight matches without a clean sheet, conceding 18 goals, since a 0-0 draw with Wolves.
  • Their only two midweek Premier League victories in the past 17 attempts both came against Brighton at Craven Cottage.
  • Bernd Leno is one short of 400 career league appearances.

Aston Villa

  • Nine points from 10 games represents Villa's worst start to a Premier League season other than in 2015-2016, when they were relegated.
  • They have won just two of their past 18 games against current Premier League opposition.
  • Aston Villa have won only four times in 21 league fixtures, losing 11.
  • Villa have not had a winless away run of more than five games from the beginning of a Premier League season since 2011-12.
  • Their only win in the past 16 league games against London opposition was 2-1 at Crystal Palace last November.
  • Only Wolves have scored fewer Premier League goals than the seven by Villa this season.
  • Aston Villa's last nine league goals were scored by nine different players.
  • Philippe Coutinho has scored one goal and provided no assists in his past 21 league appearances.
  • Since the start of 2019-20, no outfield player has made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than the five by Villa's Tyrone Mings.
  • Steven Gerrard lost only one of his 16 appearances as a Liverpool player against Fulham in all competitions, winning 12.