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Despite last winter's 2-0 success Villa rarely do well at the Cottage. Saturday's side travels bereft of big names and struggling to raise a strike force, while the Whites are full of confidence.
"Our most pleasing win to date, this is the tempo we want to play at consistently, it's vital to maintain momentum and move higher up the table. This is where we want to be at the end of the season." Punchy sound bytes from the boss on the eve of our clash with Villa, as Hughes sends out the battle cry for another big performance this Saturday at the Cottage.
Roy had his own way of expressing confidence in his teams at Friday press conferences, but while he came across as your friendly sage about to unravel a tricky algebraic formula, Hughes fills the room with his smouldering presence like a boxer straining to enter the ring and start slugging.
Let's hope the boys get a dose of red meat from the pre-match team talk at 2.45 and realise Villa are there for the taking. Common sense surely dictates we stick with last week's starting eleven. AJ will definitely start from the bench and with Duff and Etuhu fit to sit among the subs we of a sudden look to have options all over the park. On paper this should be enough to have Villa quaking in their boots.
Except football doesn't work like that. Day one of the season, Wigan humbled 0-4 at home to new boys Blackpool. 7 days later they go down 0-6 to Chelsea. On matchday three they go to Spurs and win. Yes, that's the same Tottenham who've just pasted Inter Milan in the CL.
Having introduced a note of caution however, consider this. Petrov, Heskey and Carew have all joined Agbonlahor on the treatment table, with Houllier having to opt for a makeshift front two of Ashley Young and Delfonouso. Steven Ireland hasn't settled in the Midlands and Downing's had the fans on his back. Add to that three games without a goal for Villa and four defeats from five on the road this season.
But what does that prove. Football is all about statistics...oh, hang on - that's cricket. All I know is Fulham have rarely started such red-hot favourities to win a Premier League match. If we do land the three points, it will be our first back-to-back wins in 22 games. Anything like last week's excellent performance against Wigan should see us home, and we then go into our two away fixtures at the Bridge and on Tyneside in the best possible shape.
Are you feeling the tingle yet? Bring it on!