?The KC Stadium
Hull City are to host Aston Villa tomorrow in what promises to be a feisty game, as both teams, currently placed in 8th and 9th respectively, fight it out for the three points.
In their current form, there isn’t much between the teams and with Hull already having won twice at home, against Norwich and West Ham, and with Aston Villa having won twice away from home, against Arsenal and Norwich, recent games would suggest these two teams are pretty evenly matched.
However, although Aston Villa are currently a point worse off than Hull, it could be argued that they have had the better start to their campaign because of the opposition they have faced. The Villans created an opening-day shock when they beat Arsenal at the Emirates, while last week they also rocked Manchester City after they came from 2-1 behind to win 3-2.
Meanwhile, September turned out to be a very good month for the Tigers as they took seven points from a possible nine in their three Premier League games, while they also beat Huddersfield 1-0 to advance to the next round of the Capital One Cup.
Villa have won five and lost just two of their last eight away games and Hull will be well aware that the Midlands team are more comfortable playing away from home.
Despite a heavy 4-0 loss to Tottenham in the Capital One Cup, Villa have managed relatively well without star striker Christian Benteke, who is suffering from a hip injury. The Belgian has been ruled out until November so he will definitely miss tomorrow’s game, however, with three different players scoring against Manchester City last week (Karim El Ahmadi, Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann), this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for manager Paul Lambert.
Although they have only conceded three goals in their last four games, Hull will need to be solid at the back when Villa visit them tomorrow. The Tigers do not always take their chances in front of goal and their football in the final third can sometimes be careless and look disordered.
With the in-form Robbie Brady, who has scored 50% of Hull’s Premier League goals this season, missing, City will have to rely on Sone Aluko, Danny Graham and Ahmed Elmohamady to create a decisive attacking threat to replace the injured Irishman.
History would suggest that Villa will win this game easily as they have won all of their previous eight games against the Tigers, including four Premier League meetings.
In the last corresponding fixture, Aston Villa won 2-0 thanks to goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner; however this fixture was played over three years ago, so City fans shouldn’t be too worried ahead of tomorrow’s game.
In the last four Premier League games between these sides, Villa have scored seven goals, while Hull have failed to find the net on any of these occasions.
Curtis Davis, who represented Villa on 67 occasions from 2007-10, looks set to face his former team, however Hull will be without James Chester (hamstring) and Robert Koren (ankle/foot), who have been ruled out for the foreseeable future.
Paul McShane may return to the City team after he recovered from injury; meanwhile either Stephen Quinn or George Boyd are likely to replace Brady, who is recovering from a hernia operation.
Despite being named in Belgium’s squad for the up-and-coming World Cup qualifiers, Aston Villa will be without Benteke who is suffering from a hip injury. However, on a positive note, Agbonlahor and Ashley Westwood are likely to face late fitness test as they look to overcome respective ankle and thigh injuries.
- Hull City have won back to back Barclays Premier League games for the first time since October 2008.
- Aston Villa have kept only one clean sheet in their last 28 league games, but this did come in their last away trip in the competition.
- Only on six occasions this season has a side won a game despite conceding the first goal – two of these occasions have seen Aston Villa achieve the feat.
- The Tigers have conceded only one goal in their last four top-flight home games.
- Villa have won five of their last eight away games in the Premier League (L2, D1).
- Aston Villa have not won three successive Premier League matches since April 2010.
- 15.7% of Aston Villa’s passes have been hit long (35 yards or more) this season; a league-high ratio.
Prediction: Hull City 1-1 Aston VillaPublished 05 Oct 2013, 09:26 IST