Fulham‘s dismal start to their Premier League return continued with another heavy defeat at Craven Cottage on Monday evening.
After losing both of their opening top-flight matches following promotion and shipping seven goals in the process, Scott Parker’s side found themselves 2-0 down inside 15 minutes against Villa courtesy of more woeful defending and efforts from Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane.
Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished early in the second half thanks to Tyrone Mings, with Bobby Reid later seeing a goal ruled out as a result of a foul from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Follow all the reaction with Jack Rosser at Craven Cottage!
Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa
Three straight defeats for Fulham to start the Premier League season, with 10 goals conceded.
Major improvement needed.
94 mins: Villa look like they are going to keep hold of another clean sheet as Bryan’s dangerous low cross isn’t met by anyone in white and Mings then stands firm in the face of further pressure.
Cairney’s effort then drifts harmlessly wide.
91 mins: Woodwork!
A fantastic save from an outstretched Martinez as he pushes Bryan’s effort onto the crossbar.
Just not happening for Fulham tonight.
90 mins: Four minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official.
89 mins: Some half-hearted Fulham passing on the edge of the Villa box leads to a break from Dean Smith’s side.
Traore swings an excellent ball out to Watkins, whose header inside lacks conviction and is easily cut out.
87 mins: One last change from the visitors, with Marvelous Nakamba replacing Douglas Luiz in midfield.
Mings heads and then emphatically smashes clear a corner conceded under little pressure by Cash.
84 mins: Grealish – still looking sprightly despite the advancing minutes and that first-half knock – bursts down the left flank for Villa and links up nicely with Watkins, who is well stopped by Le Marchand.
The Villa captain then swings in a free-kick from the left that is met by Mings, with Areola forced to tip the ball rather awkwardly over the crossbar.
82 mins: Ramsey invites a foul from Kamara and Trezeguet then lashes a shot that is blocked by Bryan.
Douglas Luiz can only fire wide at the back post as the offside flag is raised.
Trezeguet has now been replaced by former Chelsea man Traore, who makes his top-flight debut for Villa.
Jack Rosser at Craven Cottage
Fulham merely going through the motions now. Not all the blame can be placed on the defence – though most of it should.
Mitrovic has had plenty of chances to test Martinez in the Villa goal with his head thanks to some pinpoint crosses from the wings, but none have come close.
Without him firing they really do have no hope.
78 mins: Fulham’s third and final change sees Neeskens Kebano replace Reid for the final 12 minutes or so.
75 mins: Hourihane – who netted Villa’s second goal – is the man replaced by Ramsey, who makes his Premier League debut after impressing against Bristol City in the Carabao Cup.
73 mins: This time it’s Mings who effectively combats the threat of Mitrovic, who has endured a frustrating evening thus far.
Villa look to be preparing to send on young midfielder Jacob Ramsey.
72 mins: Cavaleiro flicks the ball to his right before swinging in a deep cross for Mitrovic, who can only guide another header wide of Martinez’s goal under severe pressure from Konsa, who doesn’t give the Serbian an inch of space.
69 mins: We neglected to mention that Parker sent on Maxime Le Marchand in place of Hector a few minutes ago.
Fulham are looking dangerous every time they go forward now, but still have no goal to show for their improved efforts over the last 20 minutes or so.
Grealish looks like he will open up a chance for 4-0, but he is stopped in his tracks by Ream.
66 mins: Grealish guides a volley over the top after meeting Cash’s deep cross.
Fulham then race forward and Anguissa’s fierce drive is well blocked.
Jack Rosser at Craven Cottage
Fulham are looking much more of a threat since the change in system, with Kamara sending in some inviting crosses from the right, but it is all too little, too late.
This approach cannot be the plan if they are to avoid the drop this season.
63 mins: Two more Mitrovic headers drift off target and Reid sees a shot blocked.
Fulham ramping up the pressure, but feels very much a case of too little, too late at 0-3.
60 mins: McGinn is booked for an ill-advised sliding challenge on Bryan before Mitrovic steers a header narrowly wide for Fulham, who are asking far more questions of this Villa defence now.
57 mins: NO GOAL!
It’s ruled out after Attwell takes a look at his pitchside monitor and gives a free-kick after Mitrovic brings Konsa to the ground.
Fulham can’t catch a break.
56 mins: Fulham have one back after Martinez is unsighted by Mings’ attempts to meet Kamara’s hopeful shot and spills the ball for Reid to turn home from yards out.
However, VAR Martin Atkinson suggests that referee Attwell takes a look at a potential foul by Mitrovic on Konsa…
Date, time and venue
Fulham vs Aston Villa is scheduled for a 5:45pm BST kick-off on Monday, September 28.
This match will be played behind closed doors at Craven Cottage with no fans due to be present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
How to watch
TV channel: The match will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Premier League and Main Event channels, and is available via Now TV.
Fulham: Areola, Tete, Hector, Odoi, Bryan, Zambo, Ream, Cairney, Reid, Ivan Cavaleiro, Mitrovic
Subs: Kebano, Knockaert, Rodak, Le Marchand, Onomah, Robinson, Kamara
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Hourihane, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish
Subs: Steer, Traore, Nakamba, Elmohamady, Hause, Davis, Ramsey
Prediction: Fulham 2-2 Aston Villa
Fulham just haven’t appeared to make the defensive improvements necessary yet to successfully compete at this level.
It is potentially crucial that they avoid a third successive top-flight defeat here and falling into an early spiral, though Villa will be full of confidence after outlasting the Blades last week.
We expect an entertaining and potentially high-scoring encounter that ends all square, perhaps with Fulham squandering a lead due to their defensive frailties.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Of the 26 Premier League meetings between the clubs, Aston Villa have won nine times and Fulham six, with 11 draws.
Their last top-flight encounter came all the way back in April 2014, when Hugo Rodallega’s late header secured a 2-1 win for the Cottagers at Villa Park.
Odds courtesy of Betfair Exchange. Click here to find out more.
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