By Jonty Banks

25th Apr, 2023 | 8:39pm

Unai Emery can make positive Bertrand Traore half-time substitute to help Aston Villa seal win v Fulham

Although Aston Villa completely dominated the first half of their Premier League clash against Fulham, they entered the break just one goal up at Villa Park.

Tyrone Mings’ flicked header was the difference between the two European hopefuls in the West Midlands, but Unai Emery’s side dominated the large share of possession.

Despite the strong Aston Villa showing, Fulham hung in there until half-time and will surely not be as poor in the second half once given the hairdryer treatment by Marco Silva.

If Villa are to claim all three points tonight, positive substitutions are going to be key.

Emery must ensure that he continues to take the game to Silva’s side, and the best way to forward could be to bring Bertrand Traore into the fold as soon as possible.

The Burkina Faso forward has been rarely used by Emery since cutting his loan spell short in the winter window but popped up with match-winning goals against both Leicester City and Nottingham Forest recently.

The attacker’s ability to stretch defences with his dribbling ability and silky skills in the final third is a weapon that can be extremely useful when the opposition are chasing the game.

His impact on tiring defences was evident by the brace of goals he has scored over the last month, having at least one shot on goal in four of his five last substitute performances. [WhoScored]

Although Buendia was a common outlet for Villa in attack during the first half, he failed to make a single key pass or cross from his wide right positioning. [WhoScored]

The diminutive Argentine had two blocked shots on Bernd Leno’s goal but lost possession of the ball on six different occasions and completed just one of his three dribbles.

With Fulham expected to come out of their shell in the second half, having an outlet of Traore’s ilk could be perfect for catching Fulham on the counter-attack, and subsequently, killing off this match.

In other Aston Villa news, this “outstanding” outfielder is expected to quit the club for good in the summer transfer window.