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Premier League

  • 20 October 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 25693
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Fulham - Aston Villa Preview: Villans look to improve on their worst ever start to a campaign

Paul Lambert's side travel to Craven Cottage hoping to put the brakes on their slide towards the relegation zone, while the hosts look to build on a positive start to their season

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Scwarzer
Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise
Duff, Sidwell, Riether, Kacaniklic
Berbatov, Rodallega
ASTON VILLA

Guzan
Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett
Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman
Agbonlahor, Benteke

Fulham are waiting on the fitness of Bryan Ruiz, as the forward picked up a thigh injury on international duty with Costa Rica in midweek.

However, Martin Jol's side are bouyed by the return of Mladen Petric (calf), and Dimitar Berbatov is also expected to recover from a thigh injury which kept him out of the Southampton clash.

Philippe Senderos could make the substitutes' bench after returning from an injury which has kept him out of action for the season so far.

Aston Villa are without long-term absentee Richard Dunne, who is still a week or two away after undergoing a groin operation in August.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ireland could feature after recovering from a broken wrist, but it is unlikely Paul Lambert will risk him in the starting XI. Joe Bennett has returned to fitness after suffering a gashed leg.

Darren Bent looks unlikely to start, with speculation rife as to the former Spurs man's future. Gabriel Agbonlahor will probably be be partnered by Christian Benteke, who scored for Belgium in the international break.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • This season has been Aston Villa’s worst ever start to a campaign, taking just five points from seven matches.
  • Fulham have not won any of their last six meetings with the Villans, drawing three and losing three.
  • The visitors have won on just one of their last seven visits to London, having already lost in the capital twice this season.
  • The hosts have lost just two of their last 13 Premier League encounters at Craven Cottage.
  • Only Norwich (6.8%) have a worse chance conversion rate than Aston Villa (9.8%) this season.
  • Only Barcelona (66.7%) have better shooting accuracy than Fulham (63.5%) across Europe’s top five leagues this season.
  • Darren Bent (pictured right) has been caught offside 112 times since August 2010, more than any other player in the Premier League.
  • The home side have conceded the joint-most headed goals (four) in the top-flight this season.
  • The away side have failed to score in five of their last seven games on the road.
  • At least three goals have been scored in all seven of Fulham’s Premier League games this season.

Players to watch

D. Berbatov

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

The Bulgarian made an instant impact on his arrival at Craven Cottage, grabbing two goals on his home debut and running West Brom ragged with his incredible first-touch and calmness in possession. If Villa are to take anything from this game, they will need to ensure that the 31-year-old sees as little of the ball as possible, as he has the ability to dictate the game from anywhere on the pitch.

C. Benteke

Position: Attacker

Games: 8

  • 2
  • 0
  • 1

The 21-year-old has looked lively since arriving at Villa Park, and is one of an array of impressive Belgian players on show in the Premier League this season. Benteke has already netted for Villa in their home win against Swansea. He is a threat in the penalty area and could provide the visitors with the key to unlocking a defence which has proven to be vulnerable to aerial attack.

Editor's Prediction

Fulham have enjoyed one of the league's most formidable home records for several seasons now, and they will be eyeing further home comforts in this clash. Villa are in transition this season and Paul Lambert may be happy to sacrifice some results on the road as they search for their best form.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Fulham

Aston Villa

Wins
3
1
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Draw
Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
61%
18%
21%

Top 3 Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
2 - 1
Aston Villa FC AST
Fulham FC FUL
2 - 0
Aston Villa FC AST
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 1
Aston Villa FC AST

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