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Mounting injury concerns will give Aston Villa difficulty in Fulham match

We know that Christian Benteke is out and Gabby Agbonlahor will probably join him, but those are the only injury concerns for Villa ahead of Saturday's match.

Michael Regan

The big news, of course, is that Christian Benteke will likely miss the rest of the season with a torn achilles. Slightly less troubling, but still annoying, is the fact that Gabby Agbonlahor has been sick lately and looks doubtful to play in Saturday's Fulham match. So at this point the last thing most Aston Villa fans want to hear about is more injury problems. So, in advance, I apologize.

Karim El Ahmadi and Gary Gardner are both out for this weekend's match. The former is still suffering from the effects of a thigh strain that saw him ruled out for the Manchester United debacle last weekend while the latter has picked up a foot injury that can go on his long list of maladies. Normally, these two players being unfit for a match wouldn't be a huge problem. But with Gabby and Benteke out already, Paul Lambert will likely have to go to four in the midfield and it seems a particularly bad time to be losing depth there.

This almost assuredly means a start for Marc Albrighton, though with the return to fitness (hey! good news!) of Nathan Baker, I suppose Lambert could find a way to play with the midfield a bit. One idea that pops to mind is a 5-in-the-back featuring Ciaran Clark, Ron Vlaar, and Baker being framed by Matthew Lowton/Leandro Bacuna and Ryan Bertrand. If Lambert took Lowton, that could mean a midfield with Bacuna, Ashley Westwood, and Fabian Delph, and the oddest strike tandem we've ever seen with Albrighton and Andi Weimann.

But even with injuries, it seems crazy to go so defensive when playing Fulham. We'll just have to wait until Saturday to see how Lambert solves this particular conundrum.