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Match Preview - Fulham v Aston Villa 11.02.04

last updated Wednesday 11th February 2004, 9:47 AM
Fulham Manager Chris Coleman Wednesday night will be important for Fulham and Aston Villa as they meet in London. A victory for The Cottagers could see them back in 4th place and an unexpected candidate for European football next season.

Fulham welcome Villa knowing that they have won their last five home games and that the Midlander's away form, two wins on their travels this season, has kept them in the middle and lower regions of the Premiership while Fulham are just two points behind fourth placed Newcastle.

On form The Cottagers only need to concentrate and the points should be in the bag. Unlike Charlton, the loss of Fulham's star man has yet to hit them hard as they have seen off Everton in the FA Cup, beat Spurs 2-1 and drew away at Southampton in the Premiership and the Cottagers seem keen to maintain their push for European football.

Qualification for the UEFA cup would be a massive achievement for Chris Coleman in his first full season in charge, and he must surely be a candidate for manager of the year after a string of good results.

Fulham have won seven league games from 12 at home this season, although several of those games have been tight results, and Coleman won't be complacent.

Boss Coleman will be hoping recent signing Brian McBride continues to confirm his competence in the Premiership, during his spell with Everton last season he scored four goals in seven starts – and he has already opened his Fulham account after just 12 minutes back in the action against Spurs.

Losing Captain Lee Clark for this game, through injury, would be a blow, but Fulham's impressive squad spirit this season should see them get over that.

Aston Villa Manager Aston Villa manager David O'Leary has bemoaned the loss of Gavin McCann going into tonight's Barclaycard Premiership game at Fulham.

The midfielder is currently serving a five match suspension following a second sending off.

O'Leary, whose side won their last three games, said: "We have a tough match against Fulham and I wish we hadn't lost McCann for such a long period.

"When he is out of the side it puts a strain on the competitive edge in the team.

O'Leary acknowledges that Villa face a tough task at Fulham in their bid to complete the double over the Londoners.

He added: "Fulham may have lost Louis Saha to Manchester United but they have since kicked on to produce some good form.

"We are now treating every game as a cup final and the Fulham game will be no exception."

O'Leary wants his team to consolidate their place in the top 10 in the table.

He said: "My aim is to finish as high as possible. Moving from 16th to sixth position may be a tall order but I know all my players will be trying their hardest to keep the club moving higher in the table.

"With a little bit of luck we will be able to keep the squad together for the rest of the season.

"I cannot afford to lose the likes of Olof Mellberg or Juan Pablo Angel otherwise we would be forced to have a different objective."

Fulham striker Brian McBride
Make my day Lino
Craven Cottage on Loftus Road
in sunny London Town
Premiership 25 - 11 Feb 04
Pos Fulham Aston Villa Pos Div
Games Played 10 24 24 7 24
Goals Scored 4 36 28 15 31
Ave Goals Per Game   1.50 1.17   1.30
Shots 6 261 257 8 251
% Goals To Shots 7 14% 11% 13 12%
Shots On Target 5 127 106 12 110
% Shots On Target 2 49% 41% 17 44%
Ave Shots Per Game   11 11   10
Ave Shots On Target Per Game   5 4   5
Total Passes 9 8803 7794 16 8730
Ave Passes Per Game   367 325   365
Total Crosses Made 20 436 611 7 558
Ave Crosses Per Game   18 25   23
Goals Conceded 11 33 27 9 31
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game   1.38 1.13   1.31
Tackles 1 832 719 4 664
Tackles Won 1 619 509 7 486
% Tackles Won 3 74% 71% 17 73%
Ave Tackles Won Per Game   26 21   20
Clean Sheets 9 8 9 7 8
Fouls 9 340 384 3 337
Average fouls per game   14 16    
Yellow Cards 10 41 40 10 14
Fouls per Yellows 9 8.3 9.6 5 -
Red Cards   2 2   -
Figures in the Pos columns indicate position in Premiership
Cipher stat flash
Fulham play Aston Villa at home, in the Premiership, on Wednesday evening aiming to send the Midlanders home empty handed.
  • Aston Villa, have scored less goals than Fulham and are below the Premiership average. Their problems stem from lack of accuracy in front of goal. From having virtually the same number of shots they manage 20% less shots on target than The Cottagers. One player, Angel, has scored 10 of their 28 goals.
  • In the middle of the park Aston Villa come up short as well making some 1000 passes less than Fulham this season. With Fulham's tactics leading to them making the worst number of crosses in the Premiership it is not hard for The Villians to outshine them even with an average number of crosses
  • In defensive terms Aston Villa have conceded fewer goals than Fulham but they don't tackle as much and don't complete as many tackles.
  • As far as fouls and cards are concerned Aston Villa have committed third highest number of fouls in the Premiership but are 8th in the yellow card table.
The Cottagers have won their last three home Premiership games
* Chris Coleman's side have lost only three of their last 14 home League games and are looking to retain their challenge for European football.
* Fulham are defending an unbeaten home Premiership record against Villa (one win, one draw) and have not been beaten in five home games against them (four wins, one draw) since the 0-2 reverse at Craven Cottage in the old Third Division on 28 November, 1970.
* If he plays, Luis BOA MORTE will be making his 150th English League appearance.
* If involved, Lee CLARK will be making his 400th League appearance.
* If selected in the eleven, Sean DAVIS will be making his 150th start for Fulham.
Aston Villa
The Villains travel to West London boosted by successive victories over Bolton in the Carling Cup (although defeat on aggregate) and Leicester and Leeds in the League, recording an aggregate score from those three games of 9-0.
* The Villains have only won twice in 19 Premiership games on the road.
* Villa are searching for their first top flight away victory over Fulham since an amazing 3-6 success on 18 September 1965.

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