Sunday 28 December 2003, 3:00pm at Villa Park, Birmingham
Barclays Premier League
Aston Villa
Angel 33'; Vassell 67', 82'
Fulham FC

33' Goal

Juan Pablo Angel

67' Goal

Darius Vassell

82' Goal

Darius Vassell

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Liam Ridgewell
Off:Mark Delaney

75' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Thomas Hitzlsperger
Off:Lee Hendrie

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Stefan Postma
Off:Juan Pablo Angel

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Junichi Inamoto

82' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Facundo Sava
Off:Steed Malbranque

A Darius Vassell-inspired Aston Villa take advantage of a poor Fulham display, as the Cottagers slump to a 3-0 defeat in the West Midlands.

Vassell has struggled to reproduce the form he has shown for England and he had been left out of the starting line-up for the previous two games. But his personal drought was finally ended after 67 minutes when he turned home a cross from the outstanding Jlloyd Samuel. 

That was the cue for wild celebrations in front of the Holte End and then for good measure the 23-year-old added a second to round off a comprehensive victory. 

Fulham started brightly but after the first 10 minutes they seldom produced the form which had lifted them in to fourth spot in the Premiership. Villa dominated proceedings as they took their points tally to 10 from the last four games and they are now well clear of relegation trouble. 

Vassell looked sharp and Samuel excelled with his runs forward on the left flank while the home side bossed the midfield. Only Louis Saha looked capable of pulling the game out of the fire for the visitors as speculation continues to mount over a possible move to Manchester United. It required a goal-line clearance from Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie after three minutes to prevent Fulham from taking the lead. 

Junichi Inamoto's corner was met by the head of Alain Goma and his effort looked destined for the corner of the net until Hendrie intervened. 

Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen then produced a superb reflex save to turn over a close-range shot from Steed Malbranque after 12-goal Saha had provided thetelling ball across the area.

 The home side responded and it was the turn of Edwin Van Der Sar to earn his spurs as he parried a close-range volley from Juan Pablo Angel around the postafter connecting with a chip from Vassell. 

Then after 32 minutes the impressive Angel brought the game to life with a typical poacher's finish for his 13th goal of the campaign and his sixth in the last seven games. 

Samuel was the creator with a run which took him past the challenges of Malbranque and Moritz Voltz before delivering an inviting low cross - and Angeldid the rest at the far post. 

Fulham came out for the second half in a positive fashion and Saha tried his luck from 35 yards with a well-struck volley but it flew straight at Sorensen. 

But Villa quickly retaliated and Vassell came within inches of connecting with a low cross from Gareth Barry which carried just too much pace. Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham had a chance to double his side's lead but Van Der Sar was able to parry his low left-footed drive. 

Then at the other end the sharp Saha was only a foot wide after quickfire turn and shot from the edge of the Villa penalty area. Villa were forced to make a substitution after 62 minutes when Delaney, who is carrying a knee injury, limped out of the action to be replaced by Liam Ridgewell.

 Then after 67 minutes Villa Park erupted as Vassell scored his first Premiership goal of the season and his first at home since New Year's Day. Samuel was again the creator with a deep centre and Vassell kept his eye on the ball before volleying under the body of Van der Sar.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 28 December 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Attendance: 35,617

Referee: Barry Knight

Aston Villa

Line-up: Sørensen; Delaney (Ridgewell 62'), Johnsen, Mellberg, Samuel; Hendrie (Hitzlsperger 75'), Barry, McCann, Whittingham; Angel (Postma 84'), Vassell

Unused substitutes: Moore, Crouch


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Harley; Malbranque (Sava 82'), Djetou, Inamoto (Hayles 69'), Clark, Boa Morte; Saha

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Melville, Green

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 19 46
2 Arsenal 18 42
3 Chelsea 19 42
4 Charlton Athletic 19 30
5 Fulham 19 28
6 Liverpool 18 26
7 Newcastle United 19 26
8 Southampton 18 26
9 Birmingham City 18 26
10 Aston Villa 19 24
11 Everton 19 23
12 Bolton Wanderers 19 23
13 Manchester City 19 21
14 Blackburn Rovers 19 21
15 Middlesbrough 18 21
16 Portsmouth 19 19
17 Leicester City 19 18
18 Tottenham Hotspur 19 18
19 Leeds United 19 17
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 14
Aston Villa (4-4-2)
  • 29Thomas Sørensen
  • 2Mark Delaney
  • 25Ronny Johnsen
  • 4Olof Mellberg
  • 3Jlloyd Samuel
  • 7Lee Hendrie
  • 6Gareth Barry
  • 8Gavin McCann
  • 7Peter Whittingham
  • 9Juan Pablo Angel
  • 13Darius Vassell
  • Stefan Postma
  • 19Liam Ridgewell
  • 16Thomas Hitzlsperger
  • Stefan Moore
  • 25Peter Crouch
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 3Jon Harley
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 26Adam Green
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 15Barry Hayles