The Wimbledon-based firm are often slow to react to any significant price movements and with news that John Carew has lost his fitness battle ahead of the clash at Craven Cottage the home side can be backed with confidence.
Carew, an underrated striker in my eyes, joins Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey on the sidelines and with that trio absent it is difficult to imagine just how Gerrard Houllier’s men will trouble the hosts. Stylian Petrov, so influential in midfield, remains inactive too and it has gone fairly unnoticed that Villa have not won in the top flight since September.
That success came in a 2-1 win over local rivals Wolves but Houllier must now contend without a host of attacking options and it is hard to imagine this being a particular enthralling encounter.
It is four defeats in five away matches so far this season for the Villa Park club, the worst of which was that memorable 6-0 mauling at St James’ Park, and that is a surprise given how well they finished last term on their travels. The Villains have managed less than a goal per game in all top flight fixtures this term however and one could well be enough for Mark Hughes’ men to land the spoils this weekend.
Fulham snapped a two-game losing streak last time out with a comfortable triumph over Wigan at Craven Cottage and the Londoners remain as tough to beat as ever in front of their own fans. They can usually be relied upon to give their true running, picking up points against Manchester United and Everton so far this season in addition to triumphs over Wolves and the Latics, and Hughes will have pinpointed this fixture as one in which his side should be aiming for the maximum haul. >
With the emergence of Clint Dempsey as a genuine goal threat this term Fulham have seemingly found a suitable replacement to long-term absentee Bobby Zamora, who broke his leg earlier in the campaign, while striker Moussa Dembele has flourished at his new club. The Belgian, a summer signing from AZ Alkmaar, has impressed all at the club since his arrival and that pair can trouble the Villa backline.
If you’ve the afternoon spare in West London this Saturday afternoon then I suggest Twickenham over the Cottage, it won’t be pretty on the banks of the Thames, but you can pay for your egg-chasing ticket by trusting Fulham to consolidate their position in the top half of the Premier League with a win and worsen Villa’s woes.
2pts Back Fulham (vs. Aston Villa) @ 2.30 (Unibet)