Aston Villa and Fulham both picked up their first Barclays Premier League 2011/12 point on the opening day as two of the surest defences of 2010/11 showed themselves, once more, to be difficult to break down during a 0-0 draw.
But Aston Villa will return from Fulham’s Craven Cottage to the Midlands knowing that, but for the quick reactions of newly signed Irish goalkeeper, Shay Given, their efforts could have come to nought, for their new stopper saved well from Bobby Zamora not once, but twice in the first half, before denying Andew Johnson in the second half.
In all, Fulham worked Given with nine efforts on target, while limiting their visitors to just one attempt on goal, demonstrating that a point was the least they deserved.
Fulham look to be on course to at least match last season’s eighth place, which was achieved by a watertight rearguard, however, if they are to push on from that platform, and move towards the European places proper, then they’ll hope for a little more killer instinct in front of goal. On another day, though, against a goalkeeper in only good – rather than outstading – form, Fulham would have taken all three points.
Villa, on the other hand, look like a side ominously poised to underachieve for the second season in succession: on paper their starting XI is frightening to any opposition, on the pitch, however, at least today, it was a little flat.
Fulham v Aston Villa – Barclays Premier League 2011/12 – Squads
|01 Schwarzer||01 Given|
|03 JA Riise||02 L Young|
|05 Hangeland||03 Warnock|
|14 Senderos||05 Dunne|
|18 Hughes||06 Collins|
|13 Murphy||10 N’Zogbia (Albrighton 67)|
|16 Duff||16 Delph|
|20 Etuhu||19 Petrov (Clark 89)|
|23 Dempsey||09 Bent|
|08 Johnson||11 Agbonlahor|
|25 Zamora (Dembele 73)||18 Heskey|
|38 Etheridge||22 Guzan|
|02 Kelly||21 Clark|
|06 Baird||07 Ireland|
|28 Briggs||12 Albrighton|
|04 Sidwell||17 Makoun|
|10 Kasami||25 Bannan|
|30 Dembele||14 Delfouneso|