Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa team welcome FA Cup finalists Hull City to Villa Park on Saturday for a game that Villa really need to win to put to bed any fears of relegation.
Villa come into the match on the back of a terrible run of form. 4 losses and 1 draw in their last 5 games sees them currently sit only 3 points ahead of Norwich in the relegation zone.
Hull City have had a great return to the Barclays Premier League and currently sit in 13th place. They also have the FA Cup final at Wembley to look forward to.
Hull will be looking to go one better than their last away game, when they came from 2 down to grab a draw at relegation threatened Fulham.
- Aston Villa have won 4 of the last 5 fixtures between the teams in the Barclays Premier League.
- Hull City have not scored against Aston Villa in any of their Barclays Premier League meetings.
- Both teams have managed the same amount if league goals this season, 36.
Matt Lowton could return to the Villa starting line-up after impressing Lambert with his display in the second half at Swansea, having replaced Leandro Bacuna due to the Dutchman feeling unwell. It remains to be seen if fellow Villa defender Joe Bennett (ankle) is available to return. Villa’s one big miss is Belgian striker Christian Benteke.
Steve Bruce could opt to hand a start to Sone Aluko after the Nigeria forward made an impact as a substitute at Craven Cottage. They will still be without Robbie Brady, Paul McShane and Alan McGregor. Although, all 3 should be available for the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
Fabien Delph is one of the few Villa players who can finish this season with their heads held high. The box to box midfielder has impressed in every aspect of his game. His tackle success rate is up at 75%, he has won 62% of his ground duels and made an impressive 57 interceptions.
He has also been just as effective when going forward. He has created 23 chances from open play and 2 goal assists. With 3 league goals also to his name it is clear to see why many have tipped Delph for a place in Roy Hodgson’s England World Cup Squad.
Shane Long has been an inspired signing by Steve Bruce. Long guarantees you goals at this level. Whether he is scoring them or creating them, he is always involved.
His 13 games in a Hull City shirt have been no different. He has 4 league goals to his name and 13 chances created in open play. He has a clear cut chance conversion rate of 67%.
Aston Villa will be looking to finish their season at home on a high. They have under performed and with plenty of uncertainty surrounding owner Randy Lerner and manager Paul Lambert it could well be the last time both are seen at Villa Park.
Hul City on the other hand have a team of players all playing for positions in the FA Cup final squad. That alone could be enough to see Hull break their terrible record at Villa Park.
Personally, I can’t see passed a draw. 1-1 for me.