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Premier League

  • December 8, 2013
  • • 8:30 AM
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 22288
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Premier League Preview: Fulham - Aston Villa

Premier League Preview: Fulham - Aston Villa

Rene Meulensteen's men have not won since October but face a Villa side which has improved in recent weeks and boasts the third best away record in the Premier League.

Fulham needs at least a draw against Aston Villa on Sunday to avoid setting a new record for their longest losing run in the Premier League.

The Craven Cottage outfit has lost six top-flight games in a row for the first time since 2001-02 - Fulham's first season in the Premier League.

That poor form has already cost Martin Jol his job, with Rene Meulensteen, who had initially been brought in to serve as his Dutch compatriot's assistant, now given the reins.

There were signs of promise in Meulensteen's first game in charge against Tottenham on Wednesday, but Fulham ultimately succumbed to a 2-1 loss after taking a second-half lead.

With Fulham now in the relegation zone, the visit of Paul Lambert's Villa has added importance and the omens are positive for the hosts.

Villa has only won two of the 12 Premier League fixtures between the pair in London, and has not scored in the last two trips.

The overall record in league meetings is remarkably close, with Fulham having claimed 18 wins, Villa 19, while 21 have ended in draws.

At the beginning of November the two sides were level on points in the bottom half of the table, but Lambert has overseen an upturn in form at Villa that has coincided with Fulham's decline.

A five-game unbeaten streak has lifted the Villa Park club into the top 10, nine points clear of this weekend's opponent.

An impressive 3-2 win away at Southampton was Villa's third league triumph on the road this season and it now boasts the third best away record in the division, with 12 points from seven games.

That stands in stark contrast to Fulham's home record of four points from seven games, which is the worst in the league.

Center back Brede Hangeland is out for six weeks after undergoing surgery on a nerve problem, while full back Matthew Briggs and forward Hugo Rodallega (both groin) also miss out.

Villa has major doubts over captain Ron Vlaar, who was substituted at halftime with a calf injury at St Mary's Stadium, but Joe Bennett (back) could return to bolster the defense.

Winger Charles N'Zogbia (Achilles) and defender Jores Okore (knee) will not play any part.

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1Maarten StekelenburgGoalkeeper
3John Arne RiiseDefender
14Philippe SenderosDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
20Sascha RietherMidfielder
4Steve SidwellMidfielder
11Alexander KacaniklicMidfielder
14Georgios KaragounisMidfielder
24Ashkan DejagahStriker
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
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22Elsad ZverotićDefender
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16Damien DuffMidfielder
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2Nathan BakerDefender
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
7Leandro BacunaMidfielder
8Karim El AhmadiMidfielder
15Ashley WestwoodMidfielder
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
17Chris HerdMidfielder
10Andreas WeimannStriker
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
20C. BentekeStriker
13Jed SteerGoalkeeper
34Matthew LowtonDefender
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
18Yacouba SyllaMidfielder
24Alexandar TonevMidfielder
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