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Fulham 2 - Aston Villa 1

Craven Cottage

03/02/2008

Attendance: 24 760

Glensider Away At Fulham

I suppose that experience and common sense tells you that you are going to experience performances like this throughout the course of a season, but that certainly doesn't make them any easier to come to terms with when they do rear their ugly head. We were dire. Lethargic, lacking inspiration, and seemingly clueless as to how to string three or four passes together, create openings, and ultimately test Antti Niemi in the Fulham goal.

We never looked like scoring, and but for the intervention of old-boy Aaron Hughes, who in attempting to deflect a right wing corner away from Martin Laursen following an Olof Mellberg flick on, sent the ball past his own keeper, we certainly wouldn't have done. We hadn't done anything up to that point to suggest that we deserved to lead with a little over twenty minutes remaining, and despite Martin Laursen having a great opportunity to put us 2-0 ahead, the concern was always there that we weren't in control of the game sufficiently enough to believe that another away win was on the cards. Sure enough, the home side came back to level through Simon Davies, and then win the game thanks to a Jimmy Bullard free kick with just a handful of minutes remaining.

It has to go down as our most inept showing of the campaign to date. We just didn't seem up for it. Fulham, while admittedly re-inforced by the arrival of a few new faces during the transfer window, and with the popular Brian McBride back on the bench, looked there for the taking. That we were unable to ask the necessary questions and heap further misery on their long suffering supporters has to be a concern, because even without Ashley Young, you'd have been entitled to think that we have enough ammunition in our armoury, capable of seeing us register another impressive away performance/result. It was sadly not to be.

Even in previous away games when we haven't actually been at our fluent best, for example Bolton at The Reebok, even Manchester City at The Stadium Of Light, we'd given off the impression that we were hanging in there, capable of getting something or something more out of the game, but today that belief just didn't seem there.

Ironically enough I'd been saying all week that we'd come unstuck here, I just had that feeling, but even so, I think its fair to say that I expected more from us that was actually in evidence.

Once again the Villans journeyed in numbers, made a lot of noise, and created a decent atmosphere in front of what we were told afterwards by a Fulham supporter, was probably one of their biggest home attendances of the season. It was just so difficult to believe though that the team that had turned in such an exciting and entertaining performance two miles up the road at Stamford Bridge just over a month ago, should return to this area of our capital city and serve up such a shocker on this occasion.

There were four of us in the car, so we all voted for each players performance, and here's the average score we came up with:

Player Ratings


Scott Carson 5

Didn't really have much to do. Not at fault for the goals we all agreed, but no saves of note to boost his score.

Olof Mellberg 5

Not at his best, but still did a job.

Martin Laursen 6

Defensively o.k., could/should have put us 2-0 up though.

Curtis Davies 6

Solid enough - shame about that late tackle on Kamara

Wilfred Bouma 5

Caught out a few times. Distribution still leaves something to be desired

Stan Petrov 4

Just didn't get involved enough

Nigel Reo-Coker 5

Got stuck in, but distribution let him down

Gareth Barry 6

Not at his best, but who was?

Shaun Maloney 6

Lively but lacking. Does that make sense?

Gabby 4

Lacking

Big JC 4

Lacking

Marlon Harewood 6

Livened us up a bit, but enjoyed very little support

Craig Gardner and Isaiah Osbourne

neither on long enough to evaluate. (Thought Isaiah had moved on loan to Leicester City? Obviously not)




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 4 2008

Time: 9:27AM

Your Comments

Good report glen, fair scores for the players too. The fans were superb and had to stop myself a few times joining in from the comfort of my sofa. 10/10 for the fans
benham
I genuinely feel our lack of options in the playing staff played a part here. No Ashley for instance meant no creativity in wide areas. Totally disrupted our pattern of play. Stan was poor out wide, but, to be fair to him, out of position. Gabby going off further highlighted our lack of a Plan B. They all looked tired/uninterested too. If only there'd have been a chance during January to bring in some cover. Hang on.....
VillaYamYam
I think that Carson was VERY at fault for the free kick, it was in the fuxiin middle of the goal !!!! I said beforebthe kick that his positioning was ***** and that if it is on target it is going in !!!!
Bearvill
Fulham,ffs,ruined my coupon!:-)
MFC67
We the villa fans were the best players on the day. Without question. It felt like a home match. Maybe that's why we didn't do so well!
evoflash
Got to Agreee with Bearvill. How can you say Carson was not at fault for that free kick. I think if you watch the highlights back you will see that it was hardly in the top corner. Good report though. Oh and there's nothing wrong with singing frim your armchair Benham!
Adam Deuce
Lacking. Says it all about the whole performance for me.
DeanoVilla
Despite being in the very hospitable Eight Bells Pub from 11.30 it was a very bad away day for what was an incredible away support for a Sunday 4.00 kick off live on tele. We were awful all over the field, BUT at 1-0 ahead (not deserved) we SHOULD have won. Fulham had not looked like scoring (neither had we) and I thought poor performance but three good points. That'll do. WHY can we not keep a clean sheet, when we look pretty solid defensively? I hope MON does not rue the sale of Gary Cahill. The only plus point is that we managed to convert four Swedish tourists we met in the Eight Bells to the Villa. They support IFK Gothenberg (or something like that), they loved the singing in the pub, went down to the Cottage and got 4 tickets for the 'neutral' end. One of the lads met them at half time and they joined us, celebrating our goal with as much feeling as the rest of us. Hope that performance hasn't put them off! I wouldn't fault the players effort and committment at all, but at the moment (last three games) we are not playing well enough. No creativity. We NEVER look like scoring from open play and we can't keep clean sheets. Time for a bit of MON magic!
krfeskivilla
Bit of a surprise this one, had a tenner on you lot winning 2-0...funny old game..
Blue is the colour
What a surprise but trust me when i say with your centre forward out and only marleen to help score u boys will just about stay in the top 10.
SHOE HAMMER
Shoehammer, that's what worries me, BUT with the lack of creativity without Ashley Young you could have the world's best striker playing and he wouldn't get any chances to score. In fairness, Marlon has done quite well (very well v Liverpool) when he has come off the bench.
krfeskivilla
Carson was definitely for fault for the free kick. He positioned himself to the left of his goal and I said before the kick was taken there was an ocean of space for them to score in. We lacked any width in the game and when we didn't hoof the ball up to Carew all our play was down the left side.
Hoss The Villain
Agree the support was great and at the Eight Bells Pub there is always a great atmoshere there but the game was poor. We missed Young and there was no real threat. I am hoping Routledge will start soon with Young on other side I feel we would create chances. To be fair this is the first match I have seen this season where I felt we couldn't score. After Newcastle the players have a break and last year came back to be unbeaton in the last 12 games the same again would be nice.
daveldvilla
Maloney's deliveries from the corners were not up to Young's but he shouldn't be relied upon so much anyway. Marlon and Maloney to start up front with Young and Gabby on the wings.
Villan444
This team has been struggling for the last month. MON has missed the boat big time by failing to bring in Diarra, Defoe and Hutton. Its as simple as that. While we prob will beat Newcastle next Sunday (they are brutal at the moment) we are going to struggle big time over the remainder of the season. It was like watching Wimbeldon yesterday.
Kilga
Defoe would not have come to team where the other striker is his competitor for the England place and remember Cappello's first choice was Gabby not Defoe and the previous england managers even prefered to go without the normal number of strikers rather than pick Defoe. We could have offered him a billion pounds a year and he would have turned us down. He went to Portsmouth because he has no competition. Melberg is as good a right back as Hutton and our central midfield is not the problem. We should at least give Routledge a chance before writing him off and we were until yesterday 4th in Premier form guide being unbeaton in our last 8 matches so why have we been poor for a month? Just a note on the crowd with the row over the minutes silence for the Munich disaster it was good see us stand in silence for a Fulham fan who had died at a young age. Some fans have class as do their clubs some don't.
daveldvilla
Oh and the match next week Kilga is on Saturday lunchtime.
daveldvilla
Pompey have got about 5 strikers and I think you are being harsh on Wimbledon looking at us yesterday Kilga. Fulham were as bad as us apart from Simon Davies and Bullard whereas we had noone who stood out without Ashley. Barry still looks injured. Gabby the same or is the pressure of getting into the England camp distacting him. Half the others are just squad players and we must get into Europe (which now looks doubtful) to attract the top quality we need. Hope Keegan doesn't get his first win against us.
Villan444
How can you say that our CM is not the problem. Barry just does'nt cut it in there and NRC can barely pass the ball without falling over it and i wont even comment on how bad Petrov is.As for Hutton you must not have seen his debut againest UTD. He didnt give ronaldo a kick and looked very dangerous going forward with the ball. Mellburg gives everything but he, just like Bouma is t comfortable on the ball and when you combine this with a midfield where nobody except Maloney/Young actually look like creating something we just end up with missiles being lauched into the box.
Kilga
Even a draw yesterday was not enough. Is this the beginning of the end. The whole squad is jaded through lack of numbers to keep them fresh. only 13 games left now and we still need at least 8 wins. Take off Manure and Arsenal. That gives us with at least 1 must win game against Everton, Pompey or Westaaaam all at their places and all around us in the league. On current form I am getting worried. The Geordie game is a must win now as we have dropped
Villan444
too many points while other teams had players in the African nations.
Villan444
We must watch different games Barry was poor yesterday but he has replaced Hargreaves in the England team. NRC is our other central midfielder and he does what he is supposed to he tackles and breaks up play. Petrov hasn't played in central midfield for a while and out wide he is not good enough. I did see Hutton and lets wait and see where Spurs are at the end of this season or next and where we are. The times did a survey recently on which teams use the long ball the most we are the same as Everton, Liverpool, and Portsmouth. Yesterday was a poor game for us and all the teams around us are dropping points, Man City at Derby for example, we are well placed and we all know it is going to be tight.
daveldvilla
All i have to say was shocker from Carson from the free-kick.. his mind and body stood still.. Right in the middle of the goal is just poor! Good keeper, but that standard of keeping is unacceptable & thats the bottom line. Generally we deserved nothing from the game 2b fair.. Fulham stepped up there pace and had the energy to win. No complaints really. Sometimes in football you get out what u put in.. and as MON said on skysports in his interview.. WE GOT WHAT WE DESERVED!!
notaspur
We were terrible. I'm sick to my stomach and my whole week is ruined. That's all I can say.
los_angeles_villan
Have noted your comments gents re Carson's failure to save Bullards free kick winner. I'll check it out on t.v. if I get an opportunity (haven't seen any goals/highlights yet). suffice to say that none of us (myself + three side-kicks thought him at fault at the time), I just build my comments around what I see (or think I see at the time).
glensider
Kilga, i will accept most opinion, albeit with a fair bit of debate and disagreement, but there is no way i'm going to let you get away with saying Barry doesn't cut it. Every player has bad games and indeed bad runs of games. But he is still Aston Villa's talisman, and for the time being at least, he will continue to fight for the team regardless of our position and form. Yesterdays performance was hideous, and the sooner i can cast it from my mind the better, but I still think some of the comments on here are quite extreme. Results (not performances) before today have been more than acceptable, with the exception perhaps of the Sunderland result. I want improvement from this point, which should be set as a marker, and if we don't get it, then questions have to be asked, agreed.
Carlosio
watched it on Sky and I have to say the first half had me feckin yawning!
merlin
anyone else who watched it on sky might be able to relate with me because their commentators were the most bias ive ever heard. as soon as fulham scored they were bigging them up for the win.
villabikes29
That's because we had one shot on target all game. I thought they were being rather generous to us. Didn't see any punditry though, so couldn't comment on that.
Carlosio
merlin, I was actually there, and was falling asleep! What a shocking advertisement for the premiership. The better team won, I have no complaints on that score.
glensider
I agree with you Carlosio that questions need to be answered if we fail to win both of next 2 home games. As for Barry im not saying that he isnt worth his place on the team but i would'nt play him in the centre. He is far too slow. It was on the left wing where he put in his great performances not the centre. And as for replacing Hargreaves in the England team you must have Villa tinted glasses on big time because do you not remberer his last game there againest Croatia? He was taken off at half time. I would love to see him back on the left with Young on the right and NRC and Gardiner in the centre and Petrov in the stands.
Kilga
 

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