Jack Grealish inspires Aston Villa as Fulham fall to third straight defeat
Premier League – Craven Cottage – Fulham 0 Aston Villa 3 (Grealish 4, Hourihane 15’, Mings 48’)
Jack Grealish (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Aston Villa's English defender Tyrone Mings during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Aston Villa at Craven Cottage in London on September 28, 2020
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Aston Villa at Craven Cottage on September 28, 2020
Image credit: Getty Images
If these two goals were benefited by soft defending, the third from Tyrone Mings, just after half-time, was ridiculously easy as he ran past Fulham's high offside line unopposed to meet Hourihane's free kick from the left flank and nudge home from eight yards out.
Although Fulham improved in the second half, and Bobby Reid had a goal disallowed for an off-the-ball foul from Alexander Mitrovic, their fate was sealed by then and they will wonder where their first win or even point will come from.
Villa are sitting pretty with two wins and no goals against and will hope this leads to a season they can enjoy without fear of relegation.
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Despite their promotion last season, there was always the thought that Scott Parker was not getting the most out of his side which had more talent than any other in the division.
Like West Brom, they have had no early form and look in disarray in defence.
The last half-hour saw them enjoy a lot of possession and territorial advantage and put a number of dangerous crosses into the box, which Parker may see as something to work with.
In reality it only highlights how their desperate organisation and on-field leadership has left them facing the steepest of inclines in each of their first three matches where they have conceded a goal in the first ten minutes of play and also one in the first five minutes after half-time.
This is beyond lamentable and points to only one destination for the Cottagers at the end of the season.
Fulham do not have the worst run of fixtures facing Wolves and Sheffield United away, then Crystal Palace and West Brom at home in October, but at present you would not be surprised if they go into November without a win and, if so, they will be in the market for a new manager - but by then it could be too late.
Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
He will have better games and face much better opposition but the England international was at the hub of all Aston Villa's good attacking play and unsurprisingly he was involved in all their goals - with the third coming after he was brought down.
Him staying at his boyhood club has given them a chance to avoid being dragged in the relegation dog-fight and in a side with confidence and without its back to the wall each week he will have ample opportunity to show to Gareth Southgate he deserves consideration for a starting eleven England berth.
4' - GOAL! McGinn lofted a lovely ball over the Fulham defence and Grealish making a diagonal run to the inside right channel saw Areola coming out and just clipped the ball over him and into the net. Fulham have looked tentative early and Villa took full advantage.
15' GOAL! That was too easy. Watkins raced down the left flank then played inside to Grealish who jinked into the penalty area before squaring to McGinn whose touch allowed Hourihane to side-foot home.
48' GOAL! So, so easy. Hourihane put the set piece into the box. Fulham had a high line and Mings raced onto the ball before any defender and just side-footed home.
56' GOAL! Wow. That came out of nowhere - and it was due to a goalkeeping howler. Kamara turned in from the right flank and hit a curling effort Martinez seemed well behind but he fumbled the ball and Reid turned home the rebound.
57' No goal! VAR rule that Mitrovic dragged Konsa to the floor just before Kamara's shot. It seems a fair decision.
26 - The number of games since Aston Villa's last Premier league away clean sheet.