Fulham v Aston Villa
After the loss at White Hart Lane, in midweek, Roy Hodgson will be looking to halt a run of form that has seen Fulham lose their last four Premier League fixtures, unfortunately, Aston Villa, who recently reached the Carling Cup Final, will prove to be tough opposition to crack.
Chris Smalling, the centre of transfer attention this week, is now counting down the days until he joins Manchester United. On loan to Fulham for the remainder of this season, Smalling has spoken about his move, remarking,
"My time at Fulham has been great and I have learned a lot about the game from Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff. But the chance of coming to the biggest club in the world is something I just couldn`t turn down. I`m excited about working with Sir Alex and the fantastic players in the squad."
"I`ve played a few times in the Europa League this year, but the thought of making the step up to the Champions League next year is great. I can`t wait."
Here at Vital Fulham we sincerely hope it goes well for you. But, please ensure you continue to perform, for us, at the level at which we expect you to!
Fulham Team News:
Roy Hodgson will be looking to stop a run of defeats in our first game at Craven Cottage for quite awhile. Likely to miss out through injury are Clint Dempsey, John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky and Andrew Johnson. Also absent will be Dickson Etuhu who is still away on African Cup of Nations duty.
Chris Smalling, who signed for Manchester United during the week, is likely to be used in a make-shift back four as Roy Hodgson looks to get things back on an even coil.
Player to watch: Chris Smalling
The young lad must believe that Christmas game a little late this time around but what a present he got. Unfortunately, the world and hi smother will now be watching to see how this talented youngster performs knowing that Sir Alex Ferguson has spent an immense amount of money on him.
Aston Villa Team News:
Martin O`Neil will bring his Carling Cup finalists to Craven Cottage keen to keep their league form, and hopes of a top four place, going. But he`ll be without the injured Albrighton, Re-Coker and Bouma. Rated as doubtful are the physical centre forward John Carew and the full back Steven Warnock.
Player to watch: James Milner
Is currently operating in the centre of midfield for Martin O`Neil and proving that he can play anywhere across the pitch. He`s my tip to be one of the better England performers at the forthcoming 2010 World Cup.
Match Facts & Stats
If we glance back at the history books, we see that this is the 56th meeting between the two sides. Fulham have notched up 18 wins, compared to Villa`s 19 and 18 draws, so there`s not that much in it.
But if we look at the games between the sides in the Premier League we come across a strange statistic. In 17 clashes only once has the away side emerged victorious.
Lee Mason will take charge of this one!
It`s one of life`s great conundrums, why are we so good at home but so poor on the road? Thankfully, it`s a home game this weekend, albeit against difficult opposition. But, you`ve got to remain optimistic and even though I thought we`d do better than we did at White Hart Lane, I see no reason why we can`t get all three points off Villa, although it`ll be by a narrow 1-0 win!
This Premier League fixture is followed by a trip to the Reebok Stadium to take on a Bolton side now managed by Owen Coyle.