If anyone expected Alex McLeish to develop his team into a free-flowing expansive side while remaining responsible at the back, they’ll be disappointed. After 45 minutes, Aston Villa have one shot on target: A Emile Heskey half chance, which he flicked at Mark Schwarzer. Collins and Bent have had half chances, but nothing convincing.
However, Fulham have been little better. Riise has looked promising overlapping on the left, allowing Clint Dempsey to have a free role in the middle, and Andy Johnson has been bright. Johnson had a good chance just before halftime, cutting into the box from the left and shooting, but Shay Given was equal to it, parrying the shot behind for a corner.
Villa will be the happier of the two sides, and there is something to say about defensive stability. With Philippe Senderos looking shaky, there may be more chances in the second half for Darren Bent. For Fulham, they need to get Damien Duff more involved; he’s been their biggest threat.