Survival Saturday showdown

My, oh my, what a win against Stoke!

Never have I attended a game in which a goal 3 minutes from time was greeted with such cheer, jubilation and excitement – and what a goal it was! Matthew Lowton, Aston Villa’s Mr ever-present this season, brought a cleared corner down on his chest and rifled it into the top corner from a mere 30+ yards away. Soon after that goal of the season, Villa then wrapped up the points through none other than Mr Benteke. Without his goals this season then who knows where we would be. The next act was the final whistle; cue mass celebrations which lasted well after the whistle had been blown and the claret and blue troops were given a heroes’ applause as they exited the Britannia.

However, focus now must turn to this weekend’s home game against Fulham and many fans who feel this will be a comfortable win, for me, could be mistaken. Now, I am not saying that I think we will get beaten because I don’t. I fully expect Villa to be victorious come 5pm on Saturday afternoon but in my opinion Fulham are one of the hardest teams in the division to break down and reign victorious against. Also, having lost to Newcastle last weekend, the Cottagers may feel that they still need one or two more points to ensure safety for the next campaign. Therefore, they are not about to go into this game having nothing to play for. The home side are 5/2 to win with the bookies, so if you are going to test your luck by betting online, be sure you check out Unibet.

One of Villa’s best weapons this season has been the fans and the support that they have given the team even when we have been at rock bottom, something which was not there last season when we were in a very similar, if not worse, situation. The fans will play another vital part on Saturday and in the 5 remaining games after this one, for when the going gets tough the players will need us to rally them, get behind them and ultimately drive them on to the success and results that we have now come to expect.

Perhaps the best outcome of the game, other than a win obviously, would be to keep a clean sheet as for the past 21 games the opposition’s fans have had at least something to shout about. Having said that, blame for that figure can not be passed to Guzan for without him who knows how many more goals we would have conceded this season and how bad our goal difference would be. It’s time for our defence to stand up and be counted and get it right for the full 90 minutes.

Team News:
Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is nearing a return to full fitness after making a brief appearance from the bench last weekend in the 3-1 win over Stoke.

Manager Paul Lambert is also keeping an eye on the fitness of defender Ciaran Clark, who is back on the training ground following a shoulder injury suffered while on international duty for the Republic of Ireland and, providing he suffers no reaction, could feature in the squad.

Defender Chris Herd and winger Marc Albrighton (both foot) plus defender Richard Dunne (groin) remain on the casualty list.

Fulham midfielder Eyong Enoh will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game at Aston Villa after injuring his ankle against Newcastle last weekend.

The Cottagers’ boss Martin Jol is already without midfielders Steve Sidwell (suspension), Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) and Mahamadou Diarra (knee). Dejagah will undergo ankle ligament surgery next week, joining Diarra on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

Opta stats:

  • Dimitar Berbatov has scored five goals in his last five league games combined.
  • No Premier League team has conceded more goals from penalties than Aston Villa this season (6).
  • Fulham have seen their woodwork struck a league-high 18 times this season.

Aston Villa 2-1 Fulham
First Scorer – Agbonlahor (if fit)



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