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The Arizonan

Fulham away at Aston Villa ~ Match Preview

last updated Friday 09th March 2012, 2:08 PM


Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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There will be a real contrast in mindsets as these two teams meet at Villa Park. While Fulham arrive in the Midlands with a real spring in their step on the back of three straight wins, the dark clouds hovering over Villa Park still show no imminent signs of being blown away. "

Villa fans have only seen their team win six times all season - and they haven't won any of their last seven home games. In fact, they've picked up just 13 points from a possible 39 at Villa Park in the campaign and the anxiety in their play is there for all to see. It was no surprise to hear Gabriel Agbonlahor confirm this week that the supporters' frustrations are having a detrimental effect on the team's performances.

Villa need to find a spark from somewhere to kick-start their form for the remaining games and try and make the atmosphere a more positive one. The body blow of losing Darren Bent is an obvious one in a team that has really struggled for goals. And the absence of Richard Dunne in defence hurts. You sense it's a time and a match, for the players that are available, to stand up and be counted.

Fulham have recently proved how any run of consistency can relieve pressure and move the team up the Premier League, and suddenly they enter this one in the top half of the table for the first time this season. Since the turn of the year they've really found a rhythm, and last week's thrashing of Wolves further illustrated their increased levels of confidence.

It's all been done after the sale of Bobby Zamora, which raised a few eyebrows. But Martin Jol couldn't have dreamt of the impact that Pavel Pogrebnyak has had. He'll be hoping the Russian can continue in the same vein and lead them to a third away win of the season.

For Villa, though, this is the first of back-to-back home games before they face Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. They need some light at the end of the tunnel soon.

    Head-to-head



  • Fulham have never won at Villa Park in the Premier League in 10 attempts.


  • They did, however, knock Villa out of the FA Cup fourth round in 1999 with a 2-0 away win


  • The last time Fulham won at Villa Park in the league was a 3-2 victory on 3 March 1973, in the old Division Two.


  • Fulham



  • Fulham have won three successive Premier League matches. They had previously failed to even win two fixtures back-to-back.


  • Martin Jol's side have yet to lose a match in which they opened the scoring this season (W7, D3).


  • January signing Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored five goals in those three successive victories. He is the first player to score as many goals in his first three Premier League appearances. The Russian is now Fulham's second-top scorer in the Premier League.


  • Aston Villa



  • Villa are winless in five matches and have only accrued seven points from eight matches (W1, D4, L3).


  • They are the only team not to have scored from a corner in the Premier League this season.


  • Gabby Agbonlahor's goal against Norwich on 5 November was the last to be scored in the league by any of Villa's available forwards. Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey, Nathan Delfouneso and Andreas Weimann have since gone a combined 27 appearances without a top-flight goal.
























Source Steve Bower at BBCSports
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