Fulham increased the pressure on beleaguered Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard with a deserved victory at Craven Cottage.
Harrison Reed gave the home side the lead, drilling home after Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez had punched a corner into the midfielder’s path.
Andreas Pereira went close on two occasions, while Aleksandar Mitrovic had a far-post header cleared off the line by Tyrone Mings as the home side dominated the first half.
Villa’s evening went from bad to worse just after the hour mark, when Douglas Luiz was shown a straight red card after being adjudged by the video assistant referee to have head-butted Mitrovic in an off-the-ball altercation.
The home side wasted little time in capitalising on their numerical advantage, Mitrovic doubling their lead from the penalty spot after the striker’s shot had struck Matty Cash on the arm.
The visitors’ misery was complete when Mings diverted Neeskens Kebano’s low cross into his own net – a goal which was greeted by chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” by sections of the away end.
The result leaves Gerrard’s side teetering precariously above the relegation zone in 17th, while Fulham climb into the top half.
Villa fans turn on Gerrard
Having booed their players off the field following Saturday’s home defeat by Chelsea, the Villa supporters once again made their feelings known as the visitors traipsed off the Craven Cottage pitch at half-time – and again in the latter stages of the contest.
Unmistakable chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” and “Steven Gerrard, get out of our club” echoed around the ground following Mings’ own goal, which capped a desperate performance from the away side in west London.
Only the goal-line clearance from Mings and several impressive saves from Martinez kept the scoreline down in the first half.
It could have been much worse for Gerrard’s side, who offered Marco Silva’s team far too much space in the final third – particularly down Fulham’s left – while offering precious little as an attacking threat.
The decision to replace striker Danny Ings with Leander Dendoncker following Luiz’s dismissal was met by shouts of “We want Gerrard out” from sections of the Putney End.
Former Liverpool and England captain Gerrard said before the game that his side were “a lot closer to where we want to be” in terms of performance levels – but this was very much a step in the wrong direction for the 42-year-old and his players.
Fulham return to winning ways in style
Silva cut a frustrated figure after Fulham’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday, but his only qualm with the Cottagers’ first-half display here will have been that it should have yielded more than Reed’s well-taken opener.
Former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian, who was reinstated to the Fulham side after making his comeback from injury against Bournemouth, was particularly lively in the opening stages as the hosts took the game to their opponents.
The Brazilian had a fierce shot blocked by the foot of Martinez before fizzing a low ball across the penalty area which evaded everyone inside the box.
The lively Pereira then saw two spectacular long-range efforts deflected off target before Mitrovic was denied by Mings.
The hosts added gloss to the scoreline through Mitrovic’s penalty and Mings’ late own goal, ending a run of three league games without victory in emphatic style.
The win is Fulham’s biggest in the Premier League in nine years – since a 4-1 victory at Crystal Palace during the 2013-14 campaign.
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 6ReedSubstituted forCairneyat 73′minutes
- 26Lobo Alves Palhinha Gonçalves
- 20WillianSubstituted forJamesat 73′minutes
- 18PereiraSubstituted forHarrisat 87′minutes
- 7KebanoSubstituted forWilsonat 85′minutes
- 9MitrovicSubstituted forAlves Moraisat 85′minutes
- 30Alves Morais
- 20BednarekSubstituted forCashat 45′minutes
- 5MingsBooked at 60mins
- 41J RamseySubstituted forArcherat 81′minutes
- 6Douglas LuizBooked at 62mins
- 31BaileyBooked at 57minsSubstituted forBuendíaat 58′minutes
- 9IngsSubstituted forDendonckerat 69′minutes
- Michael Oliver
Match ends, Fulham 3, Aston Villa 0.
Second Half ends, Fulham 3, Aston Villa 0.
Daniel James (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa).
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ashley Young.
Attempt missed. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Issa Diop.
Foul by Luke Harris (Fulham).
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Fulham. Luke Harris replaces Andreas Pereira.
João Palhinha (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Cameron Archer (Aston Villa).
Foul by Carlos Vinícius (Fulham).
Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Fulham. Carlos Vinícius replaces Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Substitution, Fulham. Harry Wilson replaces Neeskens Kebano.
Own Goal by Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa. Fulham 3, Aston Villa 0.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Cameron Archer replaces Jacob Ramsey.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Antonee Robinson.
Attempt blocked. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Young with a cross.
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