Close up of Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish
Aston Villa have won only one of their six league games without Jack Grealish this season, compared to a 50% win rate with him in the team

TEAM NEWS

Aston Villa captain and talisman Jack Grealish is available to face Fulham after a seven-week absence because of a shin injury.

Defender Kortney Hause is also fit again, while Wesley is nearing a comeback after 15 months out.

Bobby Decordova-Reid will return for Fulham, having missed their previous two games because of injury.

Midfielder Tom Cairney, who hasn’t played since December, remains out with an ongoing knee problem.

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

If Newcastle drop points, Sunday is another chance for Fulham to climb out of the drop zone – but it is a bad time to play Aston Villa because Jack Grealish is fit again.

I was at Villa Park for 5 live before the international break to see Villa lose to Spurs, and they really missed Grealish – they could not get the ball up the pitch effectively without him.

His return will give Dean Smith’s side a big lift, as well as giving them far more of a goal threat. Fulham need the points, but I fancy Villa to take them.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v singer David Gray

Villa's only goal in four league games was an own goal by Newcastle's Ciaran Clark

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Fulham’s only away league victory against Villa in 17 attempts came in their most recent top-flight visit seven years ago.
  • Aston Villa can win both league matches against Fulham in the same season for the first time since 2009-10.

Aston Villa

  • Villa need one point to reach their highest tally in a Premier League campaign for a decade.
  • They have only managed one victory in seven league games – and four in 15 since Boxing Day.
  • Aston Villa can go five matches without a win in all competitions for the first time this season.
  • Dean Smith’s side haven’t scored more than once in any of their past 10 top-flight fixtures, managing just six goals in total.
  • They kept a clean sheet in 11 of their 12 league victories this season but have only avoided defeat in two of the 13 matches in which they conceded a goal.
  • Emiliano Martinez is one short of matching Villa’s Premier League record for most clean sheets by a goalkeeper in a season: 15 by Brad Friedel in 2009-10.
  • Ollie Watkins has gone seven league appearances without a goal, failing to score with any of his last 17 shots.
  • Matt Targett, who played 18 Championship matches on loan for Fulham in 2017-18, could make his 100th Premier League appearance on Sunday.

Fulham

  • Fulham are currently on a club top-flight record run of eight consecutive away matches without defeat, including two wins out of the past four.
  • They can keep three consecutive Premier League away clean sheets for the first time since their top-flight record of four in a row between November and December 2008.
  • However, Fulham have lost three of their past four league fixtures, as many as they had in their previous 15.
  • They must beat Villa to have any chance of ending a round of fixtures outside the relegation zone for the first time in four months.

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