By Peter Lynch

25th Apr, 2023 | 6:59pm

Aston Villa confirmed XI vs Fulham: Unai Emery names team as Bertrand Traore misses out

Aston Villa have confirmed their starting XI for their Premier League match against Fulham on Tuesday (25 April).

Unai Emery hasn’t made any changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Brentford on Saturday (22 April).

Emiliano Martinez has shaken off his illness to continue in between the sticks, with the goalkeeper behind his regular and reliable central defensive duo of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa. Ashley Young and Alex Moreno meanwhile continue at right-back and left-back respectively.

In midfield, Douglas Luiz continues to operate alongside Leander Dendoncker, with the duo joined by John McGinn, Emiliano Buendia and Jacob Ramsey just ahead.

And further forward, Ollie Watkins continues to lead the line, with the striker boasting 14 goals for the campaign so far.

The manager has perhaps missed a trick, however, in failing to hand a start to Bertrand Traore. The winger has been in fine form lately, scoring in the victories against Leicester and Nottingham Forest earlier this month.

He was introduced in the 66th minute against the Bees, boasting a 93% passing accuracy as he completed 13 of his 14 passes, as per SofaScore.

Along with his ability to keep the ball and of course his attacking threat, the pacey winger could have been of great assistance to Ashley Young, who will be in for a busy night against Fulham ace Willian.

Aston Villa fans will be ecstatic with their current run, where they are unbeaten in their last nine league games, taking 23 points from a possible 27.

But given just how much Emery has raised standards in recent times, there will be many who will have been disappointed to have left Brentford with just a point last time out.

Nevertheless, the club are back on home soil against the Cottagers, and are aiming for a fifth consecutive win at Villa Park.

But it won’t be easy, with Fulham heading to the West Midlands with back-to-back victories against Everton and Leeds.

Their last two opponents are admittedly struggling in the lower regions of the table, but the wins mean Fulham are now just six points behind Villa.

Unthinkably, Emery has driven his players to sixth spot in the Premier League, with European football now very much a possibility thanks to the talented manager.

And the Spaniard will want to continue the fine run of form by picking up all three points against Marco Silva’s side under the lights at Villa Park.

In other Aston Villa news, the club have expressed an interest in signing Stevenage’s record-breaking striker Makise Evans, but they are likely to face some stiff competition for his services.