Sunday 8 December 2013, 1:30pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Sidwell 21'; Berbatov (pen) 30'
Aston Villa
Aston Villa

21' Goal

Steve Sidwell
Assist by Ashkan Dejagah

30' Penalty

Dimitar Berbatov

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Pajtim Kasami
Off:Giorgos Karagounis

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Damien Duff
Off:Alexander Kacaniklic

19' Yellow Card

Fabian Delph

67' Yellow Card

Chris Herd Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Aleksandar Tonev
Off:Karim El Ahmadi

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Matthew Lowton
Off:Chris Herd

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Marc Albrighton
Off:Andreas Weimann

A Steve Sidwell strike and a Dimitar Berbatov penalty saw Fulham record their first win in seven league games.

A Steve Sidwell strike and a Dimitar Berbatov penalty saw Fulham record their first win in seven league games with a deserved victory over Aston Villa.

After Berbatov had seen a header pushed onto the post by Brad Guzan, the Whites went in front in the 21st minute when Ashkan Dejagah played the ball into the path of Sidwell who beat Leandro Bacuna to clip a shot over the Villa keeper.

Nathan Baker cleared a Alexander Kačaniklić shot off the line but the Swede was to win the penalty for Fulham’s second when he was tripped in the area by Bacuna. Berbatov slotted the spot-kick home with customary ease.

John Arne Riise hit the post in the second half as Fulham secured a crucial win and ended a run of six successive league defeats.

It was another impressive display by Fulham under Head Coach Rene Meulensteen. The defence were rarely troubled, while the Whites always looked dangerous on the break. Ahead of the busy Christmas period, it was a much needed shot in the arm for all with Whites connections as Fulham secured their first win since the 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace in October.

Meulensteen made one change from the side that lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur last time out, with former Villa man Sidwell replacing Pajtim Kasami. The Swiss midfielder dropped down to the bench where he was joined by Under-21s starlet Lasse Vigen Christensen.

After a minute’s silence to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, Fulham got things under way and were attacking the Putney End in the first half. The Whites started brightly and saw early penalty claims turned down in the seventh minute when Berbatov appeared to be nudged in the back by Baker as Kačaniklić whipped in a cross. The ball was cleared behind and the resulting corner from Kačaniklić was met at the far post by Berbatov whose header from six yards was tipped onto the woodwork by Guzan.

Villa were always going to be dangerous on the counter and so it proved in the 12th minute when they quickly broke. Gabriel Agbonlahor skipped down the left and crossed for Christian Benteke but the Belgium international sent his header from seven yards wide of Maarten Stekelenburg’s left-hand post when he should really have hit the target.

Stekelenburg then beat away a Benteke drive from the edge of the box after Fulham had failed to clear their lines, but the Whites went closer to taking the lead when Giorgos Karagounis sent Dejagah clear. Ciaran Clark got back to make a brilliant challenge as Dejagah shaped to shoot with the ball falling to Kačaniklić whose driven shot was cleared off the line by Baker.

In the 18th minute Kačaniklić drew a save from Guzan after Villa had been opened up down the left once again but Fulham were soon in front. Berbatov and Dejagah played a one-two with the winger squeezing the ball through for Sidwell. Guzan came out to block but, from a tight angle, Sidwell, under pressure from Bacuna, clipped a left-footed shot over the keeper and into the far corner of the goal.

A wonderful passing move by Fulham saw them given the chance to increase their advantage in the 30th minute from the penalty spot. After a Villa corner was cleared, Karagounis launched the ball forwards to Berbatov whose first-time flick sent Kačaniklić racing clear. The Swede was sent tumbling in the box by Bacuna and, after Mike Dean pointed to the spot, Berbatov nonchalantly stepped up to send Guzan the wrong way.

Villa almost got themselves back in it straight away when Benteke’s cute flick to Fabian Delph found the midfielder in space but he dragged his shot across the goal and wide.

Berbatov forced Guzan into a good save in the 37th minute when he collected Sidwell’s lay-off after some fine passing on the edge of the box by Fulham in what was the final action of note in the first half.

Fulham started the second half on the front foot. A well-worked short-corner routine between Karagounis and Kačaniklić saw the Swede cross for Philippe Senderos whose header was well held by Guzan. Berbatov skewed well wide from Riise’s crossfield ball, before Karagounis showed some fine footwork to ghost past two Villa players but fired over from 30 yards on the hour mark.

Five minutes later Riise almost opened his Fulham account when his header from a Karagounis cross came back off the near post after Guzan had completely misjudged the flight of the ball.

Chris Herd went into the book in the 67th minute for a late tackle on Karagounis, before Guzan saved Dejagah’s left-footed drive from the edge of the box at the second time of asking.

Villa had offered little as an attacking threat but a mighty goalmouth scramble ensued in the 70th minute; Riise and Hughes bravely making blocks as a succession of shots rained in.  

Kasami replaced the excellent Karagounis in the 72nd minute in Meulensteen’s first change of the afternoon and the Swiss nearly made an instant impact when his low cross was almost turned into his own net by Clark with Herd clearing from near the line.

Kačaniklić made way for Damien Duff in the 77th minute, before a long-range effort from Riise flashed just wide of Guzan’s near post.

Aaron Hughes got away with what looked like a foul on Agbonlahor in the box with seven minutes remaining and Stekelenburg made sure of a first clean sheet since the win over Stoke City when he tipped Benteke’s drive over the bar in injury time.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 8 December 2013
Kick-off: 1:30pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 22,288

Referee: Mike Dean


Line-up: Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos, Hughes, John Arne Riise; Sidwell, Parker, Karagounis (Kasami 73'); Dejagah, Berbatov, Kacaniklic (Duff 77')

Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Zverotic, Richardson, Christensen, Ruiz

Head Coach: Rene Meulensteen

Aston Villa

Line-up: Guzan; Bacuna, Herd (Lowton 81'), Clark, Baker; El Ahmadi (Tonev 45'), Westwood, Delph; Weimann (Albrighton 81'), Benteke, Agbonlahor

Unused substitutes: Steer, Sylla, Helenius, Bowery

Manager: Paul Lambert

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 14 34
2 Liverpool 15 30
3 Chelsea 15 30
4 Manchester City 15 29
5 Everton 14 27
6 Tottenham Hotspur 15 27
7 Newcastle United 15 26
8 Southampton 15 23
9 Manchester United 15 22
10 Aston Villa 15 19
11 Swansea City 14 18
12 Stoke City 15 17
13 Hull City 14 17
14 Norwich City 15 17
15 West Bromwich Albion 15 15
16 Cardiff City 15 14
17 West Ham United 15 13
18 Fulham 15 13
19 Crystal Palace 15 13
20 Sunderland 15 8
Total Shots
Shots On Target
Passing Accuracy
Sending Offs
Fulham (4-3-3)
  • 1Maarten Stekelenburg
  • 27Sascha Riether
  • 4Philippe Senderos
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3John Arne Riise
  • 7Steve Sidwell
  • 28Scott Parker
  • 14Giorgos Karagounis
  • 24Ashkan Dejagah
  • 9Dimitar Berbatov
  • 11Alexander Kacaniklic
  • 13David Stockdale
  • 22Elsad Zverotic
  • 8Pajtim Kasami
  • 15Kieran Richardson
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 37Lasse Vigen Christensen
  • 10Bryan Ruiz
  • Rene Meulensteen
Aston Villa (4-3-3)
  • 1Brad Guzan
  • 7Leandro Bacuna
  • 17Chris Herd
  • 6Ciaran Clark
  • 2Nathan Baker
  • 8Karim El Ahmadi
  • 15Ashley Westwood
  • 16Fabian Delph
  • 10Andreas Weimann
  • 20Christian Benteke
  • 11Gabriel Agbonlahor
  • 13Jed Steer
  • 34Matthew Lowton
  • 12Marc Albrighton
  • 18Yacouba Sylla
  • 24Aleksandar Tonev
  • 9Nicklas Helenius
  • 21Jordan Bowery
  • Paul Lambert
Total shots
Ball played into the final third of the pitch
Minutes played by player
Assists from open play
Successful aerial duels
Duel over the possession of the ball where a player wins the ball
Pass forwards
Successful dribbles
Sum of all a players ball events
Accurate passes
Key passes
Player intercepts a pass
Goalkeeper saves
Goalkeeper catches a cross
  • The Whites controlled the second half and early strikes from Sidwell and Berbatov secure the long-awaited win.
  • 90+2 Benteke makes Stekelenburg stretch for the first time this half, the Dutchman diving to push the Belgian's strike over.
  • 90 Three minutes added.
  • 89 Riise is enjoying himself now, riding a tackle before raining another shot on Guzan's goal. The keeper holds the ball well.
  • 87 Excellent cut back from Dejagah and dummy by Sidwell, but Kasami cannot control his strike and it balloons over.
  • 85 The Whites are looking to close the game out now with Villa failing to make their mark on the second half.
  • 80 The visitors make a pair of changes, Herd and Weimann off for Albrighton and Lowton.
  • 78 It's not for the want of trying, but the goal just eludes Riise. His rifle of a left-footer rattles wide of the post.
  • 77 An industrious shift by Kačaniklić is brought to an end, with Duff his replacement.
  • 75 Superb play by the Whites in wide areas. First Kasami gets around the back on the right and Herd has to clear off the goalline, then Riise has firm strike blocked on the left.
  • 72 Meulensteen makes his first change, with Karagounis being applauded off and replaced by Kasami.
  • 70 A bit of desperation defending from the Whites during a goalmouth scramble means we get away unscathed, after Dejagah's effort is saved by Guzan.
  • 68 Herd lunges in late on Karagounis and sends the Greek sprawling. That's a yellow card.
  • 65 Brilliant determination from Dejagah sets up Berbatov to cross. His delivery is met by Riise, whose header hits the foot of the post.
  • 64 A couple of strong clearances from Senderos stubs out Villa's threat from wide areas as the Whites clear their lines.
  • 59 Karagounis jinks past two Villa defenders to open up a shooting chance but his 25-yard effort is over Guzan's crossbar.
  • 57 Riether is bombing forward on the right and his cross is mis-cleared by Clark and Baker, but Sidwell can't take advantage of the slip.
  • 53 From the resulting corner, taken short between Kačaniklić and Karagounis, Senderos rises highest and Guzan leaps to save his header.
  • 52 Villa are hanging on as Sidwell's crossfield pass is met on the volley by Riise and a defensive header prevents the ball from going in.
  • 50 Another fine Whites move results in Dejagah firing across goal. Berbatov almost gets a delicate flick but the chance slips away.
  • 46 The visitors have subbed El Ahmadi for Tonev as they luck to chase down the Whites' two-goal lead.
  • Villa get us kicked-off in the second half at Craven Cottage, with the Whites attacking the Hammersmith End.
  • The Whites attacking fluidity been the difference so far, with a goal from Sidwell and Berbatov's penalty opening up the lead.
  • 44 Riether is penalised on the edge of the box and Bacuna steps up to take the free-kick, which flies harmlessly over Stekeleburg's goal.
  • 40 Dangerous moments for the Whites as Villa are awarded a free-kick centimetres outside of the box, but Hughes clears well from the cross.
  • 38 Berbatov orchestrates a terrific chance, one-twoing with Sidwell on the edge of the box, but Guzan saves well to stop the Bulgarian's flicked effort.
  • 35 The Whites are digging in for a while to conserve their two-goal lead. Hughes and Senderos have barely put a foot wrong.
  • 30 Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa. Berbatov rolls home the penalty in trademark fashion, sending Guzan the wrong way.
  • 29 The Whites went from their own corner flag to winning a penalty in around two or three seconds with two superb touches.
  • 29 An Aston Villa corner is cleared by Karagounis, and a Berbatov touch later and Kačaniklić is racing through on goal. Bacuna pulls the Swede down and it's a penalty.
  • 26 Karagounis and Clark clash heads going up for a challenge and the Greek gets the worst of it. He receives a couple of minutes treatment, and now he's back on.
  • 22 Fulham 1-0 Aston Villa. The Whites ping six or seven passes around the edge of Villa's area, then Sidwell races on to Dejagah's pass and scoops the ball over Guzan from a tight angle!
  • 19 An outstanding series of passes between Dejagah and Berbatov opens up room for Kačaniklić to shoot but Bacuna blocks at close range.
  • 18 Karagounis floats a ball over the top for Dejagah to race through on goal. Guzan scurries out to make the save, and Kačaniklić's rebound is hacked off the goalline by Baker.
  • 17 After a scrappy passage of play, space opens up for Benteke to hit a shot that Stekelenburg parries to safety.
  • 12 Villa counter and this is where they are dangerous. Agbonlahor drops a cross in and Benteke's header flashes across goal.
  • 11 Riise and Kačaniklić continue to link up well on the left but the Norweigan can't take his chance to get a cross in. Strong start by Fulham.
  • 8 A loud penalty appeal is turned away after Berbatov was pushed in the back by Baker. Then Berbatov heads Kačaniklić's corner against the crossbar!
  • 5 Good progress is made by Dejagah, pinning Villa back in their own half. The Iranian's cross almost finds Berbatov but Clark clears.
  • 3 Riise's pass finds Kačaniklić, making a smart run down the left, and the Villa defence scramble back to clear.
  • Having observed a minutes applause for Nelson Mandela, Sidwell and Berbatov get us kicked off at Craven Cottage.
  • Out march the teams on a crisp afternoon at Craven Cottage. Scott Parker leads the Whites out and we're nearly ready to get going.
  • Rene's Team lined up against Tottenham in a 4-1-4-1 system with Scott Parker as the midfield sweeper. A similar formation is expected today.
  • Lasse Vigen Christensen, the Denmark Under-21 international, makes his first appearance on the Whites bench today. The 19-year-old is a versatile midfielder, who can also play at full-back.
  • And on the bench at Craven Cottage today: Stockdale, Zverotic, Richardson, Kasami, Duff, Ruiz, Christensen.
  • The Whites team today is: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hughes, Senderos, Riise; Parker; Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kačaniklić; Berbatov.
  • Rene Meulensteen has made a single change from Wednesday's match, with Steve Sidwell replacing Pajtim Kasami.