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Aston Villa v Fulham - Match Preview

last updated Friday 08th November 2002, 10:14 AM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana Fulham and Aston Villa and come into this Barclaycard Premiership encounter off the back of solid victories in the Worthington Cup, in a week that saw many top flight teams crash out of the competition.

Fulham boss Jean Tigana is considering letting Andrejs Stolcers loose at Villa Park on after the forgotten striker's man-of-the-match performance in the 3-1 Worthington Cup win over Bury.

The 28-year-old Latvian hit a brace - his first goals for 22 months - to secure the comfortable victory at Loftus Road.

Tigana will be pleased with the extra option he now has up front with Stolcers' return to first team action. Jean Tigana's long-term options have been making headlines this week, and the uncertainty hanging over his future will be a concern to both supporters and club.

His future at the London club remains uncertain, after he avoided questions about the pressing topic.

"It is not about me," insisted the former French international. "The priority is always about the club and the players. When I leave the club will still be here. I love the club but it is the club which is most important."

  A.Villa Fulham Div
Games Played 12 12 12
Goals 7 16 14
Ave Goals Per Game 0.6 1.3 1.2
Shots (excluding blocked shots) 143 131 126
Ave Shots Per Game 12 11 11
% Shots On Target 34% 46% 43%
% Goals To Shots 5% 12% 11%
Short Passes 2883 3201 3075
Long Passes 1381 1558 1410
Total Passes 4264 4762 4485
Ave Passes Per Game 355 397 374
% Overall Pass Completion 70% 72% 73%
Total Crosses 374 277 274
Ave Crosses Per Game 31 23 23
Completion 26% 27% 25%
Goals Conceded 11 15 14
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game 0.9 1.3 1.2
Tackles 253 435 339
Ave Tackles Per Game 21 36 28
Tackles Won % 75% 74% 72%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 465 527 521
Ave Blocks, etc., Per Game 39 44 43
Fouls 165 181 166
Ave Fouls Per Game 14 15 14
Yellow Cards 18 21 19
Fouls per yellow 9 9 9
Red Cards 1 1 1
stats from opta
Aston Villa Manager Aston Villa Manager Graham Taylor appears to be slowly turning round Villa's fortunes, with two consecutive draws, at Ewood Park and Old Trafford followed by a convincing 3-0 victory over Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday.

Villa will certainly take heart from the win at Oxford, but Taylor did admit afterwards that his side were a little fortunate:

"When the goals came, they came in the manner that we have not had in the Premiership - the goalkeeper has dropped one and the second was a slight deflection and the keeper lets it go as well - those are the things that have not been happening to us and they happened and you are always grateful for it."

The former England coach will be hoping for a bit more luck in the League so his team can begin to convert draws into wins, and move away from the relegation zone.

Villa who finally seem to be getting their season of the ground. A good win for The Villians on Saturday could finally kick-start their Premiership campaign, but Taylor's men will have to perform well if they are to turn over Tigana's stylish Fulham, who will be desperate to rediscover their early season form.  
Graham Taylor's time at Villa Park looked to be about to come to an end when he was given three matches to rescue things - away to Manchester United and Blackburn in the Premiership followed by a potentially-humiliating trip to Oxford in the Worthington Cup. But deserved draws at Old Trafford and Ewood Park and a 3-0 stroll at the Kassam Stadium means things are suddenly looking a bit more promising for the former England boss.

The visit of Fulham is a hard game to weigh up however.

Jean Tigana's side have put together plenty of useful performances recently, especially in the UEFA Cup, but they've also managed to lose to both Southampton and West Ham. There's a suspicion that their busy schedule - remember they played in the InterToto Cup - might just be about to catch up with them and the fact they lost this fixture last year is also a worry (though wasteful finishing cost them dear that day).

Villa's home form hasn't been bad though (they've won 10 of their 12 points at Villa Park) while Fulham have only won once away so a much-needed success for Taylor's men could be on the cards.
source: bettingzone by Jonathan Turner

Fulham are 750/1 to win the Premiership with Blue Square with 1/4 the odds available for the top 3 places.

Betting odds Aston Villa Draw Fulham
Coral 1/1 11/5 11/5
Hills 11/10 21/10 21/10
Ladbrokes 1/1 11/5 11/5
SuperSoccer 6/5 11/5 15/8
Stanley 5/4 21/10 15/8
Betfair 13/10 12/5 5/2
All prices subject to fluctuation(particularly Betfair).
Andy D'Urso

Matchday Referee: Andy D'urso, Billericay, Essex

Andy D'urso was previously a 38-year-old bank manager from Essex by trade, but in keeping with the recent trend has recently abandoned his previous profession in favour of full-time refereeing.

He is one of the Premiership's youngest referees and was only appointed to the Premiership list three seasons ago, but soon received a welcome from Manchester United's Roy Keane. It was D'urso who was famously chased round the pitch by half the United team when he awarded a penalty against them during the 1999/2000 season.

That controversy returned at the start of 2001/02 when he failed to award Manchester United two penalties in the Charity Shield against Liverpool. But nevertheless, D'Urso is still a respected referee across the entire country - except Salford.

(Ed. In his 6 games so far this season Mr. D'Urso is issuing yellows at a slightly faster rate than last year and is therefore still faster to the whistle than 99% of the Ref's. He is blowing on average every 3 mins!

His last Fulham game was the Southampton home clash last season when he booked 2 Soton players. Before that game he had nothing to do with us since Jan 2000 when he booked Morgan and Peschisolido. )

Mr. D'Urso's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match
Total Match
Games 23 16
Fouls 625 27.2 472 29.8
Penalties 3 0.13 3 0.19
Yellow cards 75 3.3 49 3.1
Red Cards 9 0.39 3 0.19
Fouls per Yellow 8.3   9.7  
Fouls per match 27   30  

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