Funny how the weather has played such a big part in Villa’s fortunes of late. The postponement of the QPR fixture seemed to spur Ian Holloway’s side to fortune, while Villa weren’t helped by a snowstorm when they played Bolton, and where beaten, amidst a blanket of snow.
Aston Villa could really do with a win, and providing results elsewhere go there way - a win could bring renewed hope. However, Hull City aren’t to be pushed around despite a gutting capitulation to Birmingham City before the international break.
What to know about Aston Villa
For the second match in a row, Steve Bruce played right into the opposition’s hands. His refusal to lump the ball up top in thick, heavy snow probably killed Villa, then his decision to play four strikers cut off any hope of service. The game died when Adam Le Fondre scored within 20 minutes.
Bruce will need to shut his critics up once more as he returns to his old proving grounds in Hull, perhaps one of his more successful stints in football, where ‘The Tigers’ were built into a side capable of pushing on in the Premier League and cup competitions before support from the board and owners died out - leaving Bruce’s newly promoted Hull with around 14 total players to start a Premier League season. Bruce, naturally, cut his ties with the club and moved to Aston Villa.
Ideally, we’ll need to see more of the Villa that caned Wolves and Bristol, and less of the Villa that rolled over for QPR and Bolton. What that relies on is adaptation. How well will Bruce react to going a goal down, or a goal up? Only time will tell. Villa will need to be a higher order against Hull, because they’ve tried to walk the ball in twice now, against two teams who have thoroughly taken advantage of them.
Only a professional job will do, and Villa shouldn’t take their foot off the gas until the game is done, and that’s going to require multiple goals against a Hull side capable of pounching on the break, and punishing via Abel Hernandez and Jarrod Bowen.
Jonathan Kodjia, Axel Tuanzebe, Neil Taylor and Alan Hutton will be returning for Villa, but don’t expect to see much from the former, who could really do without being rushed back from injury again.
To win, Villa will simply need to ensure that they keep the ball when striving for a chance. Wasted possession in the final-third is not something that should be done when playing a team that are happy to be the ‘weaker’ side. Especially if that team can field someone like Abel Hernandez up front.
What to know about Hull
It’s not been the best of seasons for Hull, who still have one eye on the relegation zone and the battle taking place there, especially so after handing three points to bottom-dwellers Birmingham City. Still, Nigel Adkins has somewhat rejuvenated a side that was seemingly destined for the drop.
Hull aren’t able to create much, but will look to use the threat of top-scorer Jarrod Bowen, who is an effective goal-threat, and can whip in a decent ball. Whoever plays on the left-flank for Villa will do well to stifle him.
I’d be looking for Hull to use two physical midfielders to cut out Villa in the middle, before getting the ball as quickly as possible to the wings.
What’s more, it seems that the loyal Hull City support will once more look for an opportunity to protest against the ownership of their club, especially with the game being on TV.
2-1 to Villa