Woeful Fulham crushed by Aston Villa

Fulham 0 Aston Villa 3

Fulham slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat with a poor display at Craven Cottage.

The Whites again got off to a slow start – now having conceding within the opening 10 minutes in each of those defeats – when John McGinn clipped a ball over the top the defence and Jack Grealish got to it ahead of Alphonse Areola to slot in at the near post.

Captain Tom Cairney was restored to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench at Leeds last weekend, and Fulham enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession in the early stages.

But they were undone again by some neat interplay between Grealish and McGinn, who set up Conor Hourihane to double the lead from close range only 15 minutes in.

With the home side shifting to a new-look 3-4-3 formation, Aleksandar Mitrović then flashed one of his many headers wide as Kenny Tete and Joe Bryan supplied several crosses from wide positions to no avail.

And it only took Villa three minutes after the restart to find their third, courtesy of some more woeful defending.

Denis Odoi recklessly brought down Grealish, who was a nuisance throughout, and Hourihane whipped in the resulting free-kick for an unmarked Tyrone Mings to poke the ball past Areola.

The Whites thought they pulled one back when Aboubakar Kamara, a first-half substitute for the injured Tete, tested Emiliano Martinez with a drive from range and Bobby Decordova-Reid tapped in the rebound, only for VAR to chalk the goal off for a foul in the build-up.

Bryan went close in the dying minutes, when Martinez had to tip his curling effort onto the bar, but the result was a forgone conclusion by then and Fulham have lost their opening three league fixtures for the first time since 2014.

Fulham: Areola, Odoi, Hector (Le Marchand 58), Ream, Tete (Kamara 39), Zambo-Anguissa, Cairney, Bryan, Decordova-Reid (Kebano 79), Cavaleiro, Mitrović