How Fulham can beat Aston Villa and seal return to the Premier League

GIUSEPPE MURO
Defensive shield: Mile Jedinak: REUTERS

Fulham have the chance to end a four-year absence from the Premier League when they take on Aston Villa in the Championship Play-Off Final on Saturday.

Here, Standard Sport looks at how the Cottagers can get the better of their promotion rivals at Wembley.

Target the old warhorse

Fulham will target John Terry , and manager Slavisa Jokanovic said he expects the 37-year-old defender to make mistakes if he is put under pressure. Terry and defensive partner James Chester are in for a tough battle against Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serb has scored 12 goals during his loan spell at Craven Cottage since January and Fulham will look to use his strength and the energy of players around him to cause Terry problems.

Make sure Jack’s not all right

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Jack Grealish has matured into a key man for Villa, and Fulham must ensure the playmaker is not given too much room to dictate play in midfield. Grealish likes to carry the ball in to dangerous areas and it will be Kevin McDonald’s responsibility to stop him creating.

Find a way past Jedinak

Fulham are expected to dominate possession and Mile Jedinak will have a key role in protecting the Villa defence. The former Crystal Palace captain will sit deep and look to break up play when Fulham get forward. Villa boss Steve Bruce will also ask his two wide players, Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah, to defend narrow to protect central areas and make the Midlanders difficult to break down.

Keep feeding Sessegnon

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Villa’s plans to stop left-winger Ryan Sessegnon have been disrupted by an injury to Ahmed Elmohamady. The right-back damaged his hamstring in the first leg of Villa’s play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough and is a major doubt. James Bree, 20, will play if Elmohamady is not fit.

Take extra care at corners

A Denis Odoi header from a corner got Fulham to Wembley but they will be wary of the threat Villa pose from set pieces. Villa have a lot of height and Bruce feels his side can hurt Fulham from corners.