Fulham expose gap in Villa's education

Aston Villa 0 Fulham 0

Martin O'Neill did not hide his disappointment at his team's failure to leapfrog Manchester United into third place in the table, but the Aston Villa manager insisted there were positives to be taken from Saturday's draw at Villa Park. "We have to remember that we have good players who are in their early twenties," he said. "It's all about learning, but I do think this team can grow into something."

Having just won at Arsenal for the first time in 15 years and taken a point at home to Manchester United for the first time in seven attempts, the Villa faithful no doubt expected more against one of the Premier League's lesser lights. However, given that Villa's two other results last month were defeats to Newcastle and Middlesbrough, perhaps this should have been no surprise.

Villa may be knocking on the door of the top four, but they need to find a way past lesser opponents, particularly those who come to Villa Park ready to defend in numbers. "When Manchester United came they attacked us and there was space in which to play," O'Neill said. "When teams come here and sit in we will have to try to learn."

While Villa could point to the absence of the injured John Carew, their cautious approach also contributed to their failure to break down Fulham. Nearly all of Villa's best moments stemmed from Ashley Young's work on the left flank.

In their last four matches Fulham have beaten Newcastle and Tottenham at home and drawn away to Liverpool and Villa. "We'd been poor on the road and we spoke about being more solid and making it more difficult for teams to score," Danny Murphy said. "The last two weeks we have done it."

Aston Villa (4-5-1): Friedel; Cuellar, Davies, Laursen, L Young; Milner, Sidwell, Petrov, Barry, A Young; Agbonlahor. Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), Harewood, Delfouneso, Knight, Salifou, Shorey, Gardner.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Dempsey, Bullard, Murphy, Davies; Johnson, Zamora (Gera, 85). Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Nevland, Gray, Etuhu, Stoor, Kallio.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Booked: Fulham Dempsey, Pantsil.

Man of the match: A Young.

Attendance: 36,625.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?