Goals from England Under-21 striker Darius Vassell - his sixth of the campaign - and veteran midfielder Ian Taylor moved Villa to within three points of leaders Leeds with a game in hand.
It is fair to say that John Gregory's side have obtained the all so important knack of clocking up victories and points while seldom firing on all cylinders.
They were excellent in drawing with Manchester United and winning at Liverpool but, those two games apart, they have been grinding out wins - and this was another such scenario.
Gregory had received the Barclaycard manager of the month award before the game and must have wondered if the curse normally associated with picking up such an honour was about to strike after his side's first-half showing.
Villa struggled to move out of second gear and would have been in arrears had Marlet, an £11.5million capture from Lyon in August, been sharper in front of goal.
Fulham, with Steed Malbranque impressive in midfield, had no inhibitions as they attacked on a regular basis and with plenty of belief and confidence.
But, as in the previous home game with Blackburn, Villa were a different proposition in the second 45 minutes.
Vassell again showed why he is one of the best young strikers in the country with another deadly finish, while George Boateng was commanding in the centre of the park.
Steve Staunton was also a dominant figure in the centre of the Villa defence. Fulham could only reflect on what might have been and a day of frustration was summed up by Louis Saha's missed penalty in the 86th minute.
Fulham were the more incisive side for most of the first half and they would have been ahead at the interval had Marlet taken his chance.
The former Lyon striker found himself with a clear run at goal in the 11th minute after racing onto a pass from Malbranque.
But Villa keeper Peter Schmeichel was not even tested as the French international drove his left-footed shot into the side netting. Marlet had another golden opportunity in the 28th minute when he seized onto a right-wing centre from Steve Finnan.
But he failed to make a full contact on his header and, although Schmeichel saved away to his right, he should have been given no chance had Marlet connected properly.
Fulham knocked the ball around with great confidence and Gregory's pre-match declaration that Fulham only know how to play one way - to attack - was proving correct.
Villa struggled to find any cohesion in the first 45 minutes and Edwin Van Der Sar did not have to make a notable save in that period.
The home side's best effort came from Boateng, who turned and twisted on the edge of the box before sending a low shot into the side netting.
Vassell made a good break from midfield, but then went for personal glory when there were players better placed and he screwed his shot across goal.
But Villa needed only five minutes of the second period to break the deadlock via a clinical piece of finishing from Vassell.
Lee Hendrie found Mustapha Hadji in space on the right and Fulham defender Zat Knight seemed to be ball-watching as the Moroccan sent over a low centre.
Vassell needed no second invitation and his first-time flick deflected the ball wide of van der Sar into the far corner of the net.
As in the previous home game against Blackburn, Villa were a different outfit in the second period and the industrious Boateng was only just off target with a close-range header.
But just after the hour mark Taylor marked his comeback with the kind of goal that has been his trademark in seven years of sterling service for Villa.
He made a typical run into the box to get on the end of a pass from Angel before driving the ball past van der Sar.
That looked like being the end of the contest but in the 86th minute Fulham were handed a life-line when Staunton brought down Luis Boa Morte in the penalty area.Up stepped Saha but he could only hold his head in his hands as he sent the penalty wide.