Fulham vs Liverpool, United vs Villa... the stats that matter

It’s PowerTable time again folks, as FourFourTwo turns to Catalyst’s analytical tool to predict how Premier League fixtures will unfold.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa and Fulham vs Liverpool dominate this weekend's horizon. Will Liverpool - playing on Saturday - be able to secure the point needed to usurp Sir Alex Ferguson's side at the top of the table?

Or will the Red Devils - kicking off on Sunday - stretch their lead at the summit having suffered back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Fulham?

Let’s see what the statistics have to say...MANCHESTER UNITED vs ASTON VILLAIn this fixture, if United score first they are home and dry.

They’ve lost only one home match when leading after 15 or 30 minutes, and none when leading at half-time, since the turn of the century.

And in the same nine years, Villa have never come from behind to win away at a Tier 1 team, salvaging a draw on only three occasions.United to open the scoring appears like a good bet, too, as they have done it more than any other team this season. They’ve also conceded fewer second-half goals than anyone else, holding on to a lead like a lion protecting its pack.

Villa need to get that ball in the net first: they’ve won every league game this season after doing so with just one exception - when Stoke scored twice in the last two minutes to grab a dramatic 2-2 draw at Villa Park.Martin O'Neill's side do have one of the best away records in the Premier League this season, but they haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1983, when the NES was a hot new games console and Michael Jackson’s Thriller was commencing world domination.

And the last time United lost three games on the bounce was in 2001. Pride is at stake, as well as a slender lead at the top of the table.

Overall, the PowerTable suggests a comfortable United victory.

They’ve scored an average 1.6 more goals per game against fellow Tier 1 teams, while Villa have conceded 1.4.

This hints at a 3-0 win for the Red Devils, although 2-0 looks more likely, despite Villa having a habit of conceding late on.

And when you add current form into the mix, and see that Villa haven’t won in eight matches, a home win is almost certainly on the cards.

A case of wrong time, wrong place for Martin O’Neill’s men.

FULHAM vs LIVERPOOLRoy Hodgson’s Cottagers are the masters of the goalless draw this season (seven  – more than any other team – including a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the reverse fixture), but the PowerTable expects a more exciting game for the fans on this occasion. Fulham are strong at Craven Cottage, winning more points at home this season than any club apart from Manchester United and Liverpool. However, the Reds have lost only twice on their travels – fewer than any other team.

And there hasnn’t been a Premier League draw between Liverpool and Fulham at Craven Cottage yet. Ever.

If the statistics are to be believed, a narrow Liverpool win appears likely.But not only that, all signs point towards a very specific pattern, with Fulham scoring early, Liverpool equalising before half-time, and then snatching all three points with a late goal. You’re not convinced? OK.Fulham regularly score in the first 15 minutes of matches, while Liverpool often net in the last 15 of the first half, and score most of their goals after the hour mark, including in injury time.

Liverpool have been drawing at half-time more than any other team bar Spurs and – yes – Fulham. Liverpool are the only team not to have lost when drawing at half-time. Liverpool have come from behind to win more than any other team this season. Liverpool have scored the most second-half goals this season, and earned the most second-half wins (61 virtual points from 30 second halves). And against Tier 3 opposition since 2000, Liverpool have taken 81 percent of the points on offer when drawing 1-1 at half-time, and 87 percent when drawing 1-1 after an hour.

Convinced now?So... 1-0 Fulham... 1-1 half-time.. 1-2 Liverpool full-time, says the PowerTable. Worth a punt.

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