Dec 8, 2013 at 1.30pm UK at ​Craven Cottage
Fulham
2-0
Aston Villa
Sidwell (22'), Berbatov (30' pen.)
FT(HT: 2-0)

Delph (19'), Herd (67')

Match Analysis: Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa

Sports Mole looks back over Fulham's 2-0 home victory over Aston Villa at Craven Cottage.

Fulham welcomed Aston Villa to Craven Cottage today having been defeated in their six previous Premier League matches.

Now under the management of Rene Meulensteen, the home side got off to a positive start when Steve Sidwell put them in front, before Dimitar Berbatov doubled their advantage soon after from the penalty spot.

With no further goals during the second half, the Whites held on to claim all three points.

Below, Sports Mole has looked back over the clash to determine if the result was a fair one.

Match statistics:

Fulham:
Shots 21
On target 9
Possession 53%
Corners 4
Fouls 12

Villa:
Shots 10
On target 2
Possession 47%
Corners 7
Fouls 13

Was the result fair?

Fulham have not deserved many victories this season, but they certainly did today. They were sharper, quicker and hungrier than their visitors and claimed their rewards with two unanswered goals against a Villa outfit that have been in good form away from home this term.

Fulham's performance

This game was billed as a must-win encounter for Fulham, but they dealt with the pressure extremely well. There was more energy about their performance under Meulensteen, who deployed a five-man midfield, all of whom won their individual battles. What will have also delighted the Dutchman is the fact that every single one of his players, including the substitutes, gave at least a seven out of 10 performance. It's given the West Londoners something to build on after a torrid run of results.

Villa's performance

Quite simply, Paul Lambert's men never not going. They did okay during the first 45 minutes and created a handful of chances, but Christian Benteke in particular was wasteful in front of goal. After the restart they were sluggish, with perhaps their exertions at Southampton in midweek to blame. While it can be put down as 'one of those days', the form, or lack of in Benteke's case, is bound to be a cause of concern for Lambert.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Steve Sidwell: Berbatov provided the gloss to the performance, but it was Sidwell and his partner Scott Parker who put in the hard yards. The former of those two gets the nod from us, largely because he refused to allow the Villa midfield any time to settle in possession of the ball. Then, when he gained control, he rarely wasted it with a misplaced pass. What's more, he opened the scoring with the sort of finish that would make Berbatov proud.

Biggest gaffe

He may have got away with it, but what Brad Guzan was doing midway through the second half only he will know. He was never going to get near Giorgos Karagounis's cross from the left, yet he came anyway. As anticipated, he got nowhere near the ball, but thankfully for him, John Arne Riise could only head against the post.

Referee performance

If truth be told, Mike Dean was not at his best today. Not only did he blow up for a foul too early on occasions when the advantage rule could have been enforced, but he also got two big calls badly wrong. First he was incorrect to award the home side a penalty and then in the closing stages he opted not to give a penalty to Villa, despite there having been clear contact between Fulham defender Aaron Hughes and Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor.

What next?

Fulham: Next Saturday Fulham will make the trip to Merseyside to take on Everton at Goodison Park.

Villa: Meanwhile, Villa return to home comforts with the visit of champions Manchester United.

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen on the touchline during the match against Tottenham on December 4, 2013
Read Next:
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