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Fulham welcome Aston Villa -- PL. Match Preview

last updated Friday 06th December 2013, 7:26 PM

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen
Fulham manager
Rene Meulensteen
Rene Meulensteen
You only have to cast an eye over the Fulham facts and figures below this preview to realise what a pickle they've got themselves into. It makes grim reading. And the prospect of playing in-form Everton and Manchester City in their other two pre-Christmas matches makes it crystal clear how important this match is to Fulham.

For his first game after taking over from Martin Jol, at home to Tottenham on Wednesday, Rene Meulensteen certainly switched things around - making no fewer than seven changes to Jol's last team selection. And though they took the lead, the eventual outcome was the same as in Jol's last six league and cup matches in charge - defeat.

Failure to end that run here would raise the the very real possibility of Fulham being bottom of the table when they go to Carrow Road on Boxing Day.

Dimitar Berbatov was one of the players restored to the side against Spurs, even though it seems far from certain he'll see out the winter with his current employers.

Actually, Meulensteen and co don't need to look too far to see the kind of thing they need. Aston Villa topped off a good month - little more than that - with their victory at St Mary's in midweek and found themselves in the top half of the table.

Anyone who saw Villa win so impressively at Arsenal on the opening day of this Premier League season could have been forgiven for expecting them to spend most of the campaign in the top 10, but they are clearly still a work in progress. Similarly, it is remarkable after his start to the season that Christian Benteke has gone nigh on three months without scoring.

There also continues to be a suspicion about them that, for some reason, Villa are more comfortable playing away from home. Not what Fulham wanted to hear...


  • Fulham have only won four of their 24 Premier League meetings with Aston Villa (W4, D11, L9). All of those victories have come at home, latterly last season when Chris Baird scored the only goal in the 84th minute.

  • The last four meetings have only produced four goals.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have lost six consecutive league matches for the first time since February-March 2002 in their debut Premier League season.

  • It's the club's joint-worst start to a top-flight campaign. They had an identical record after 14 matches in 1967-68 (W3, D1, L10) and ultimately finished bottom of the division.

  • Fulham have won just one and lost nine of their last 11 Premier League games at Craven Cottage (W1, D1, L9).

  • This the first time the Whites have lost five of their opening seven top-flight home matches.

  • They have trailed in 11 games this season, more than any other side, and lost 10 of those matches (D1).

  • Rene Meulensteen's previous managerial experience is limited to half a season at Brondby in 2006-07 and two games in charge of Anzhi Makhachkala at the beginning of this season. In total, he won six and lost seven of his 20 league games in charge with those two clubs.

  • Aston Villa

  • Villa have only lost one of their last nine Premier League away matches (W4, D4, L1). Their record of just three away defeats in 2013 is bettered only by Manchester United (two).

  • Paul Lambert's side are on a five-match unbeaten run (W2, D3), keeping three clean sheets in the process.

  • They are the only Premier League side yet to drop any points from a winning position.

  • Christian Benteke, who came on as a substitute against Southampton in midweek, has now gone eight games without a goal.

  • Fabian Delph registered his first Premier League goal and assist against the Saints.

Source John Murray at BBCSports
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