Fulham v Villa looks tight

February 17th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

I was adrift last week, although when a home team loses a three-goal lead, as Bristol City did to Sunderland, you know it’s not really your day. I suppose, in these days of in-running bets, a total pro would have enquired about the draw as soon as Sunderland pulled one back because, as I mentioned last week, City have been busy enough lately. The away game at Leeds on Sunday looks awkward to me.

Some of the FA Cup matches are very hard to call. Neither West Brom nor Southampton can afford to let their position in the Premier League stray far from their thoughts and meet again after the Saints won 3-2 a couple of weeks ago. Mauricio Pellegrino has fielded a full-strength team in the Cup games and may do so again. Morale was low after Liverpool’s easy win at St Mary’s last week and seven of Southampton’s last 11 league games are away. I just don’t know how they’d approach this but Albion’s position is so desperate that Saints may be marginal favourites. No bet.

If there is to be a minor surprise, Sheffield Wednesday may make home advantage count when Carlos Carvalhal returns with Swansea. Trying to second-guess games from a psychological point of view is both vain and risky, so let’s just say that Swansea have improved under Carlos and now have a realistic chance of staying up. But there are difficult away games to come and it’s mighty tight. They don’t need a replay here, whereas the Owls can give it everything with nothing else to play for.

Away from the Cup, the most intriguing fixture is arguably Fulham v Aston Villa in the Championship. Fulham have left it terribly late but the Sessegnon brothers are in fine form, the club bought well in the window and victory here would take them right into the mix for second behind Wolves.

Steve Bruce is a canny old bird, though, and no manager has won more Championship promotions than he. The redoubtable Albert Adomah (crazy name, crazy guy) keeps coming up with important goals and this may end up all-square. I see nothing else.

Fulham v Aston Villa 15 units THE DRAW at 5/2

Fulham 1 Aston Villa 1 5 units at 15/2