Fulham vs Aston Villa
Rene Meulensteen on Villa:
“I will definitely draw on the experience of working with Sir Alex Ferguson, for sure yes.
“Fulham is going through a tough time. Everybody knows that. We have to show mental toughness. We have to keep performing week in and week out.
“Aston Villa is a good team. Paul Lambert was in a similar situation last year and he chose to put an energetic young team out. He has gone through it. We know what their threats are.”
Lambert content with start:
“If you’re really putting it into context what are we, three points behind Manchester United?
“I’m pretty sure if you said that to anybody at the start of the season then nobody would have believed you so.
“We’re still working really hard to try to get the football club to where we want to get it. It could take a few years to do it, but at the minute the lads are giving it a great shot.”
Form is Temporary
10th March 2012 Aston Villa 1 – 0 Fulham
A game that took place during darker times for Villa, but a special one for Andi Weimann, who scored his first ever Premier League goal in the last few minutes and effectively kept us in the division.
Fulham: Last five matches at home: W 1 L 4
Aston Villa: Last five matches away: W 2 D 3
In the last five meetings at Craven Cottage, Villa have won once, drawn twice and lost twice.
While Villa are unbeaten in five, Fulham have lost their last five matches.
One to Watch
Dimitar Berbatov – Although inconsistent, when he turns on the style the ex-Man United striker is a threat to any team.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It was great to see Villa’s clinical display against Southampton and the three points were largely unexpected by many fans. What was worrying was that we had 23% possession. While counter-attacking football is based on hitting the opposition on the break, it seems a dangerous game to give away that much time on the ball. Coupled with the fact that Fulham have a “new” manager and reportedly played well in their defeat to Tottenham, a second consecutive away win may evade us.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Has Paul Lambert been moaning at the other players for not scoring? Last season Benteke dominated in goal tallies but so far this campaign we’ve seen goals from Westwood, El Ahmadi and Delph to name a few. Now that some of the midfielders have found the back of the net, it would be fantastic to see more goals from unexpected sources. Also, Villa may need to entertain playing a bit more ‘football’ against Fulham, who will be a lot more cautious than the Saints were. Expect more possession for Villa on this trip; hopefully they’ll do something with it!
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
While our form at Craven Cottage hasn’t been particularly good over the last couple of seasons, Fulham currently boast the worst home record in the league, plus Villa’s recent away form in 2013 is amongst the very best. We got three goals from three shots on Wednesday – imagine what we could do with even more? The fact Fulham are still missing Hangeland in the centre of defence, a consistent performer against Villa, will be a huge plus. With Kozak proving to be good competition for Benteke and Agbonlahor’s goal account now open, there’s a chance Villa could make this week a great one – with two wins in seven days.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball