With Fulham looking bright under new Rene Meulensteen in his first game at the helm midweek, they were nonetheless downed by two Spurs wonder goals.
Now, they face what can only be considered a must-win game against Aston Villa at 8:30am ET live on NBCSN and online at NBS Sports Live Extra, looking to avoid a devastating seventh straight defeat.
Meulensteen makes one change from the Spurs loss, and it’s a relatively big one, replacing Pajtim Kasami in the midfield with Steve Sidwell. Much of the season has seen Fulham stubbornly stick with a 4-2-3-1, but the extra enforcer in the midfield in Sidwell changes it to a 4-3-2-1 or even possibly a 4-3-3 and hopes to deal with the high Villa line.
With Brede Hangeland recently having surgery on a nerve problem, the Fulham captain remains out until the new year, forcing
19-year-old Lasse Vigen Christensen makes the bench for the first time, another sign that Meulensteen seems much more willing to include performers from the stacked Fulham youth system.
They welcome to Craven Cottage 10th place Aston Villa, who are in the top half of the table thanks to one of the best away records of any mid-table side, three wins and three draws away from Villa Park to their name.
For Villa, captain Ron Vlaar was forced off midweek against Southampton with a calf problem and does not make the squad today. Chris Herd replacing him in defense.
The pacey youngster Andreas Weimann returns to the lineup as well, replacing Libor Kozak.
Fulham – Stekelenburg; Riether, Hughes, Senderos, Riise; Parker, Karagounis, Sidwell; Kacaniklic, Dejagah; Berbatov.
Bench – Stockdale, Zverotic, Richardson, Kasami, Duff, Ruiz, Christensen.
Aston Villa – Guzan; Bacuna, Clark, Baker, Herd; El Ahmadi, Westwood Delph; Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann.
Bench – Steer, Lowton, Helenius, Albrighton, Bowery, Sylla, Tonev.