Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday August 24 2007
Fulham take to the road this weekend to take on an Aston Villa side that have flattered to deceive this season.
Villa lost their opening home game of the season and will be looking to gain three points against a Fulham side who have a poor away record.
It is a fixture that both sides will be looking to take points from. Villa are still searching for a first win whilst Fulham will be looking to at least snatch a point if they are going to maintain their record of never having fewer than four points after the opening four Premier League games.
Speaking about our far from magnificent away record, this is what Lawrie Sanchez had to say,
"One away win last season must be improved upon and we will do that. We`ll get results on the road this season."
Well here`s hoping Saturday sees the first of many as I for one am fed up journeying south after another poor result!
Martin O`Niell will be without the injured duo of Thomas Sorensen and Patrik Berger, therefore his starting eleven will come from the following squad,
Carson, Taylor, Gardner, Mellberg, Lauresen, Bouma, Barry, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Agbonlohor, Carew, Young, Moore, Harewood, Cahill, Maloney.
Fulham will need to watch out for the pace of Young and Agbonlahor and the power of Carew as Villa seek to gain that vital first win of the season.
Seems to have been around for years! Can play in a variety of positions but Villa always seem to play better when he`s in the starting eleven. Liable to pop up in the box and can be a threat. We`ll need to monitor his movement.
Lawrie Sanchez will be forced to make at least two changes to his starting eleven after McBride and Bouazza suffered injuries last week against Middlesbrough. Diomansy Kamara is likely to make his full debut in place of McBride but there is still no sign of Lee Cook in the squad. Cook would have been the logical replacement for Bouazza.
After his two blunders in recent matches, Sanchez could be tempted to give new signing, Kasey Keller, a chance. However, we suspect that Warner will be given the nod. Anti Niemi, remains unavailable due to his wrist injury still proving troublesome.
Sanchez will select his starting eleven from the following squad who have journeyed to Birmingham,
Warner, Keller, Volz, Baird, Knight, Bocanegra, Davis, Smertin, Diop, Davies, Healy, Dempsey, Rosenior, Konchesky, Kamara, John
Two goals in midweek for Northern Ireland have only served to confirm that the striker is in the best form of his life. Hopefully, Healy will discover a chink in the home defence to extend his scoring run.
Those of you who know your history will realise that Fulham haven`t won at Villa Park in a top flight game since before England won the World Cup. In fact the exact date was 12th March 1966 when the Cottagers emerged 5-2 victors.
Last season we battled our way to a draw with Volz equalising a Gareth Barry penalty.
In fact our Premier League record against Aston Villa (home and away) leaves a lot to be desired. We`ve beaten them only once. It came in the days when we played at Loftus Road and a goal from Jon Harley had us dancing all the way down the Uxbridge Road as we got the better of them in a three goal thriller.
Therefore, it`s not surprising the stats look disappointing.
At Villa Park
League - (including PL) Villa 12 wins, Fulham 4 wins, Draws 16
Home and Away
League - (including PL) Villa 15 wins, Fulham 15 wins, Draws 16
Steve Bennett (Orpington, Kent)
Villa to struggle to breach our defence and David Healy to nip in giving Fulham a 1-0 win, their first at Villa Park in top flight football since 1966.
Fulham return to Craven Cottage for a Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on 1st September.
Date:Friday August 24 2007
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