Focus and Effort Required of Aston Villa vs Hull City

HULL, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: James Chester of Aston Villa and Abel Hernández battle for control of the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Aston Villa at KCOM Stadium on March 31, 2018 in Hull, England. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
HULL, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: James Chester of Aston Villa and Abel Hernández battle for control of the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Aston Villa at KCOM Stadium on March 31, 2018 in Hull, England. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images) /
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Tis’ the ides of January. Villa sit firmly in the abyss known only as the “mid-table”, comfortably clear of the relegation zone, and frustratingly out of immediate reach of the top 6. This is the portion of the schedule that the boys need wins to make the top 6, and one of those is going to have to come against red-hot Hull City.

The last time these two teams faced each other was the opening match of the season, which saw a decidedly different Steve Bruce led Villa side dispatch a helpless Hull City 3-1. For reference, here was the lineup (4-5-1) that faced Hull that day at the KC Stadium:

GK – Jed Steer

LB – Neil Taylor

CB – James Chester

CB – Tommy Elphick

RB – Alan Hutton

LM – Albert Adomah

LCM – Connor Hourihane

RCM – Glenn Whelan

RM – Ahmed Elmohamady

CAM – Jack Grealish

ST – Jonathan Kodjia

Who would’ve thought at this point in the season, given all that we now know about the team and their defensive struggles that the majority of players that will feature in both Hull fixtures are those that started along the back line on Matchday 1. Taylor and Chester are guaranteed starters, Elphick is more than likely starting, and Hutton very well could start ahead of James Bree (albeit not a probability). Hourihane will also start, and I’d imagine Whelan will get the nod as well. There are enough opening day starters with plenty of experience together to right the ship against a team that they’ve already beaten soundly once this campaign.

*HOWEVER*

Hull City might just be the hottest team in the Championship right now.

Here are some stats from their last 10 (followed by Villa):

W-D-L: 7-2-1  GF: 23  GA: 9  GD: +14  Shots: 120  SOG: 61  Shots Allowed: 154  SOG Allowed: 39

W-D-L: 3-5-2  GF: 22  GA: 20 GD: +2   Shots: 147  SOG: 54  Shots Allowed: 120  SOG Allowed: 52

Tale of the tape there is that Hull are playing with very positive efficiency, compared to Aston Villa. Ultimately, I believe that comes down solely to focus and effort. Under Dean Smith, the lads have shown both in great flashes, but it has not been quite consistent yet. It’s time to dig back into the annals of the season and remember the team and the match in which Aston Villa triumphed 3-1 over Hull City. The players that were present for that game need to step up and provide that focus and effort that the team require, or we will certainly fall victim to the newfound efficiency of Hull City.