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Rupert Wyman 29th Aug 2009 - 15:13

Powerless Fulham to carry on firing blanks

Fulham have only had a shocking three shots on target so far in the Premier League this season and it is their lack of power up front that makes them so unappealing as they visit Aston Villa.

Fulham are without their main striker Andy Johnson and he is a big loss for a side that struggles to score goals. In his place will likely be Clint Dempsey as he moves from a wide position to partner Bobby Zamora.

Zamora scored the Cottagers sole Premier League goal to date this season albeit it was a lucky deflection and against a very poor Portsmouth side.

Roy Hodgson has brought in some quality recently with the additions of winger Damien Duff and midfield playmaker Jonathan Greening, however, they do not have enough of an attacking threat to persuade me to back them at 4/1 to come away from Villa Park with the three points.

Also bear in mind that the away side has not won in the last 10 meetings between Aston Villa and Fulham.

Aston Villa, however, do look a tad short at 8/11 to claim the three points given the way they were outplayed by Wigan on the opening day.

Since then though they have been to Anfield and won before their humiliating Europa League exit in midweek at the hands of Rapid Vienna.

Villa's home form was a cause of concern last year and it was this that led them to fail to clinch fifth place ahead of Everton as they were unable to break down defensive sides in front of their own fans. Indeed Villa have only won two of their last nine Premier League home games.

This problem still exists as Villa's game is all about counter-attacking and this is far easier to do away from home. They also play better in a 4-5-1 rather than a 4-4-2 but against a side like Fulham the onus will be on Martin O'Neill's side to attack and as a result Gabriel Agbonlahor could well be partnered up front by John Carew.

The Norwegian target man looks a good bet at 5/1 to open the scoring. While flying winger Ashley Young has scored four goals in six Premier League games against Fulham - more than he has netted against any other opponent. The ex-Watford man is 7/2 to find the back of the net at any point during the match.

Despite the concerns about Villa they still look the best bet of the three in the match betting, with the draw available at 5/2.

The best bet of the match though, bearing in mind Fulham's lack of goal threat, could be for the home side to keep a clean sheet which is priced at 11/10.

In the correct score betting I like the look of a 2-0 home win at odds of 13/2. As Fulham's notoriously tight defence led by the influential Brede Hangeland won't allow Villa to notch too many.

The match gets underway at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1 and we will be offering in-running prices all throughout the match via our Live In-Play service.

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