Last Updated: 13/08/11 4:53pm
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That's it! The whistle blows on a 0-0 stalemate at Craven Cottage. There's been a fair few chances this afternoon but neither team could break the deadlock.
Villa win a throw-in as they make one last effort, but Hangeland clears back into midfield. Nearly over now...
Neither team look likely to break the stalemate in these dying minutes and it looks like they'll be taking a point apiece from this opener. Some of the Craven Cottage faithful have already called it a day.
Hughes battles with Agbonlahor down the left and flips over the barriers, appearing a few seconds later, unhurt.
Nothing comes of the setpiece and now it's Etuhu on the floor apparently hurt. As he receives medical attention, Ciaran Clark comes on for Petrov.
Petrov is on the floor in pain after a scramble for the ball from a corner. He's gets up after a minute or so but he's rubbing his head.
Neither team can get a grip on the game in these dying minutes and at the moment this looks destined for a stalemate. But these things can change..
There's another yellow card going the other way as Dembele is punished for a dubious tackle on the Villa captain.
Albrighton goes again with the third but Schwarzer comes out to decisively punch it clear. Petrov fouls Dempsey in midfield and sees yellow.
The corner goes straight behind for another and this time it's Heskey that does the honours, but it goes behind for yet another.
We're into the latter stages and neither side is applying the pressure needed to break this deadlock. Villa win a corner which Albrighton lines up to take.
Johnson charges down the ball down the right but can't get to it in time as it rolls out for a Given goal-kick.
There's a lull in play as Riise gets some attention but he's back on his feet in no time and once-booked Heskey goes unpunished.
The home side are in possession as Murphy and Etuhu link up in midfield. Riise goes to the floor in apparent pain after a Heskey challenge.
Albrighton makes his first impact after being set up by Bent from 15 yards, but Schwarzer palms his effort out.
Murphy's kick is easily dealt with but Fulham win a throw-in in their own half immediately afterwards. The hosts get forward once again and Given leaps to save a Dempsey effort.
Albrighton and Riise both go for the ball and collide in midair, winning Fulham a free-kick from long range.
Villa go oh-so-close as Warnock fires in from the left, but Schwarzer makes a brilliant sprawling save to prevent a well-placed Bent from tapping in.
The Villans are on the ball in midfield and Heskey breaks into the box, with Duff doing well to diffuse the attack.
The first substitution of the match is Villa's as Marc Albrighton comes on for new-boy Charles N'Zogbia.
N'Zogbia and Petrov link up in the Fulham half, trying to build an attack, but the hosts' defence have it covered.
Johnson charges down the Villa goal unmarked and Given stoops to make another save, with not quite enough power behind the Fulham man's shot from 15 yards.
There's a spell of scrappy play in midfield as both sides battle for the ball. Zamora breaks away and Given is forced to close him down on the right. He's lucky there's no-one there to take advantage of the empty net.
Fulham are back on the ball in their own end and trying to find a way through. Dempsey feeds Johnson down the middle.
When Duff's corner comes to nothing, Bent breaks with a solid run and finds N'Zogbia down the right, but the Fulham defence close him down.
After a flaring start to this half it's gone a bit quiet. Fulham win a corner, which Duff lines up to take.
Villa are on the ball as N'Zogbia and Bent exchange passes in the middle of the park, but they're forced back into their own end and Given collects.
Zamora does well to win possession in midfield as Fulham start mounting another challenge but Dunne manages to roll the ball back to Given.
Dempsey is floored in a challenge by Heskey but gets to his feet soon after and the Villa man lands a booking.
Zamora is called offside as he advances on the Villa goal. The visitors try to build something down the right as N'Zogbia gets forward but is called up for a challenge on Riise.
Villa take a minute to regather as Given prepares to take another goalkick. They enjoy some quiet possession in their own half before winning a throw-in.
Zamora and Riise wait in the box for Johnson's cross from the right but he blasts it across the face of goal and it goes out for a Given kick.
Johnson and Dempsey link up well just outside the box with a flowing one-two and it falls to Dunne to shut them down, doing well under the pressure.
It's been constant pressure from the hosts so far this half with Villa barely getting a look-in. Riise plays creator again on the left, trying to pick out Dempsey, but Collins intervenes.
Riise fires in a cross for Zamora in the box but the forward's header goes straight to Given, who snatches the ball to safety.
Fulham have come out the attacking side in this half. Dempsey and Duff link up on the left flank, looking dangerous.
The home side snatch possession straight away and Etuhu tries to get forward, finding Murphy in midfield. There's an instant chance as Duff picks out Johnson in the box. He nods onto Zamora but the Cottagers man is blocked by a solid Given save.
The teams are back out at Craven Cottage and it's nearly time for the second half. If it's anything like the first I can't see it being long until a goal.
Callum Wilson has dropped us a line on Twitter to say - "A great start for McLeish's men, good passing and there have been chances... however the same can be said across the field."
A quick betting update for you from SkyBet: After a goalless first half with few chances at either end, Fulham are 11/10 favourites to go on and win. Villa are available at 7/2 and a draw is 6/4. Bobby Zamora is 6/1 to be next goalscorer.
Got something to say on that first half? Feel free to get in touch at email@example.com or on Twitter @SkySportsRachG.
The half-time whistle blows and it's still all-square, with neither side managing to break the deadlock. There's been plenty of chances from both sides though, most notably that close call from Riise for Fulham.
Fulham win a throw-in as the seconds trickle down before Agbonlahor is booked for a questionable tackle on Duff.
Duff makes a last-ditch attempt this half with a long-range effort but it is nowhere near on target.
We're into the final minute of regular time this half and Fulham are pressing for a goal before the break.
The visitors win a free-kick in their own half but Agbonlahor gives the ball straight back to the hosts as Senderos intervenes.
Heskey can't keep hold of a Agbonlahor pass and the ball rolls back to Schwarzer, who fires upfield to Etuhu.
Just a few minutes from half-time and it's still 0-0, but there has been plenty of chances in this lively first half. The sides are battling for possession in midfield until N'Zogbia breaks away.
Fulham are back on the ball and Johnson forces a great save from Given, who spreads himself wide and bats the powerful shot away.
The referee is not happy with Agbonlahor for a challenge on Murphy and gives the winger a talking to, but he gets off without a card.
Another free-kick for Villa from long range which Warnock takes. He crosses to Petrov and the captain unleashes a fizzing shot which just brushes the crossbar.
Heskey and Agbonlahor try to link up just outside the box but Senderos steals the ball away. Duff lets a powerful shot fly from 15 yards but Given bows to collect.
Heskey wins a free-kick for Villa from midfield after a dodgy Senderos tackle. In the aftermath N'Zogbia finds Collins with another credible cross but the defender can't keep his header down and his effort flies over the bar.
Fulham have recovered some of their composure as they go on the attack, but Senderos is caught offside as Riise tries to find him down the left.
Heskey does well to get the ball away from Duff but they're still under pressure as Fulham win a throw-in. Warnock appeals to the ref after a dubious tackle but he waves to play on.
Heskey and Etuhu battle for the ball in midfield until the ref intervenes and awards Villa a long-range free-kick. N'Zogbia lines up to take it and it's Etuhu that gets it away.
Fulham win a throw-in in their own half but Villa pounce back on the ball in midfield, with Collins in possession.
There's another spell of attacking from Villa as the game picks up pace but Heskey sends the ball flying into the stands.
It's getting heated now as Zamora is brought down by Dunne to win a free-kick from long range. The aftermath of the kick sees both sides scramble for the ball after it hits the Villa wall but it's Collins that gets it away.
Villa's attackers hesitate to gift the hosts the ball before Petrov brings down Dempsey with a shove for a Fulham free-kick.
Heskey tries to pick out Bent in the Fulham half but his questionable pass has no chance of finding the striker and the hosts win a throw.
After a prolonged spell of passing in front of the Fulham goal, N'Zogbia beats Riise to put in a tidy cross from the right, but Heskey can't quite get under it to nod it home in the box.
Fulham win some possession in midfield as they look to regather but Etuhu knocks the ball out for a Villa throw.
Villa have definitely stepped things up a notch in these last few minutes and have the hosts on the backfoot. If they keep pressing a goal looks likely...
It looked like a Villa goal for Bent from a Heskey cross into the box but it's called offside again.
The visitors are looking more lively as they trade passes in midfield, but Agbonlahor is caught offside as Bent misjudges a lofty cross.
Danny Murphy goes into the book for a questionable tackle on new-boy N'Zogbia as Villa win a free-kick in their own half.
Heskey does well to beat Hughes and cause Schwarzer a spot of trouble from close range, but the keeper holds firm under pressure and scoops the ball to safety.
It's Villa's turn for a throw-in in their own half and it goes straight out for another. Bent and N'Zogbia pair up to try an attack down the right but are forced back into their own end.
Etuhu and Murphy trade passes in midfield, looking for a way through. The former takes an optimistic shot from very long range but Given easily collects.
Danny Murphy gives away a free-kick in midfield for an ill-timed challenge on Delph. Riise then wins a throw-in for the Cottagers.
Still goalless but Fulham have seen the best of the chances so far. The home side defence do well to shut down Dunne, who is looming out of position on the edge of the box.
It's Damien Duff's turn to try his luck for the hosts with a long-range effort. It's a powerful strike but it sails wide and doesn't trouble Given.
Warnock lofts in a cross this time, looking for Bent, but it misses its target and goes out for a Fulham throw-in in their own end.
Etuhu deals with an Agbonlahor cross into the box from the left of goal. Fulham are on the ball and looking to break through in midfield.
Brilliant chance there for Fulham, who are starting to find their rhythm now. Villa earn a quick throw-in in midfield as they look to get back in possession.
Best chance of the game so far as new-boy Riise unleashes an absolute flier from the left of goal. It sails over Given's outstretched fingers but clips the crossbar and goes over.
Villa are pushing to find a way through in midfield but are forced back into their own end. Collins produces some solid defending to bring down a threatening-looking Zamora.
Everyone scrambles to meet the kick and it's headed cleanly away by the Villa defence. Agbonlahor seizes the ball and is off on the attack for the visitors.
Nothing comes of N'Zogbia's wayward kick as Dunne fails with an optimistic lunge to keep it in. James Collins then fouls Johnson as the hosts win a free-kick of their own from a similar position.
Warnock lofts in a throw-in from midfield which Bent gets his head to but can't get any power on. Agbonlahor wins a free-kick for Villa on the edge of the box, which N'Zogbia lines up to take...
Duff fires in a dangerous looking cross from the right but Dunne gets to it to clear before it can cause any damage.
Warnock gets his head under a cross in the box but it rolls harmlessly to Schwarzer, who collects. Fulham are on the ball in their own half.
Villa have kept possession in these early minutes but Bent knocks the ball behind for a Schwarzer goal-kick. It finds its way straight back to Given at the other end.
N'Zogbia finds Agbonlahor down the left and he hoofs the ball into the box but the home defence clear.
We're underway at Craven Cottage and Fulham get things started. The ball goes straight to new-boy Given who lofts it upfield.
The teams run out at Craven Cottage and things are about to get underway. Enjoy the match guys! Looking forward to hearing from you at half-time.
vish4chelsea hasn't had time to clock the starting line-ups but he reckons Bent will be on target - "Bent to score if he is playing."
Craven Cottage is looking lively this afternoon as the crowd wait for the players to run out. Expecting a competitive clash with hopefully a few goals.
Big Wayne has dropped me a Tweet to say - "I can't believe how attacking Villa line up is! Very tight game though, we might nick it 2-1 Villa. Good luck N'Zogbia!"
Villa's defence will be a focal point, with McLeish yet to strengthen his backline this summer. The Villans have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 20 Premier League away games and their tendency to leak goals last season was an obvious weakness.
McLeish's decision to leave promising youngster Marc Albrighton on the bench has got Villa fan Tom Careless biting his nails - "Nervous Villa fan here worried about the exclusion of Albrighton, lets hope he gets him on..."
Just over 15 minutes to go until kick-off now but that's plenty of time for you to drop me a line before the match. Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SkySportsRachG.
In terms of injuries, Simon Davies is out for Fulham this afternoon as he battles a knee problem, while Rangers target Carlos Cuellar is Villa's only absentee.
Kev Dony has been in touch via Twitter with his prediction - "Fulham 2 - 1 Villa. Zamora and Dempsey to score the Fulham goals :)"
Both encounters between these two sides last season ended in draws and with both managers desperate to start on a positive note, it's not unlikely this one will finish all-square.
Fulham's European encounters this summer will give them the edge this afternoon, says Chris - "This could be a xclose encounter for us but seeing that Fulham will have more of a chance of the squad settling to the PL opening day than Aston Villa... then i will say that Fulham will win 3-1 with Riise scoring one of his stunners."
Robert Murray is looking forward to seeing if Villa's new winger can make an impact this afternoon - "it will be good to see how charles n zogbia goes on"
UEFA Europa League contenders Fulham have named an unchanged line-up for what is already their seventh competitive game of the season.
McLeish's line-up is attack-minded, with Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey fronting his XI. Will be interesting to see how Villa get on this afternoon in the absence of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.
Cian Hughes is the first to get in touch this afternoon and he's predicting a tight encounter - "Heyy! I am so happy the new season is back on, Some good signings! I think it will be a tight game! 2-3 to Villa - N'Zogbia(2) + Bent."
A quick update from our friends at SkyBet: Martin Jol takes his Premier League bow at Craven Cottage and is 10/11 to start with a victory. We offer 3/1 that Villa's new boss Alex McLeish makes a winning start and the draw is 5/2. We also offer 13/2 that Andy Johnson and Darren Bent both score their first league goals of the campaign.
We'll see two new managers go head-to-head in Jol and Alex McLeish this afternoon. It remains to be seen how the travelling Villa crowd will react to ex-Birmingham boss McLeish on his Premier League debut with the Midlanders...
New Cottagers boss Martin Jol has included summer signing John Arne Riise in his starting line-up, while fellow new-boy Pajtim Kasami makes the bench.
Aston Villa: Given, Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Delph, Petrov, N'Zogbia, Heskey, Bent, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Ireland, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Makoun, Clark, Bannan.
Here's the Fulham XI: Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson, Zamora. Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Sidwell, Baird, Kasami, Briggs, Dembele.
We'll be bringing you the team news in just a sec but first why not get in touch with your thoughts pre-kick-off. Drop me an email at email@example.com or Tweet me @SkySportsRachG.