The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Hull City 2017
A second season in the Championship begins. How many Villa fans thought this would be the case at the start of the last campaign?
Bruce was brought in due to his promotion experience in this league, and while he wasn’t able to deliver, he has at least got a full pre-season to his name this time around.
We haven’t seen the money spent that we saw this time last year, but a number of shrewd signings have been added who will add some experience to the squad.
With Jack Grealish now injured, perhaps Villa’s latest loan signing Josh Onomah can provide the spark?
Can we start with a bang against Bruce’s former employers in front of a 30,000+ crowd?
Bruce on Hull
“It was written in the stars, wasn’t it?
“For me personally it’s a great game for us. It’s a tough start for us, you only need to look at our first month to be reminded of how tough it is.
“We are at home, live on the TV, I would think it might be near enough a full house. You might think that would be on the cards now bearing in mind who we have signed.
“I will look forward to it immensely, it’s my old club and those games always have that little bit of an edge.”
Terry on Villa
Slutsky on the Championship
“It’s a very hard tournament.
“When I researched about the division, the minimum players a team used, without goalkeepers, was 22 players.
For example, at CSKA we used 15 players in one season. In the Championship it’s a minimum of 22 so I understand it’s a very difficult tournament.
“One team could win seven matches in a row and then the same team might not win in seven matches. It’s really very tough.
And that’s why it is so important to have leaders. Players who have experienced the Championship. Like Meyler, Clucas and Dawson. I think our core may be the most serious from all the teams in the Championship.”
3rd May 2014 Villa 3 Hull City 1
A goal within the first minute from Westwood and two more from Weimann secured a Villa Park victory towards the end of Lambert’s second season.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 3, D1, L 1
Hull City – Last five matches away: D 1, L 4
One to Watch
Kevin Stewart – Once linked with Villa, the ex-Liverpool midfielder is one of Hull’s new recruits.
Villa won all four Villa home clashes against hull city in the Premier League era.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
After the disappointment of last season, pre-season optimism has left many Villa fans fancying our chances of promotion, and rightly so.
With an expensively assembled squad and several solid new additions this summer, our chances look pretty good, but there will be several absentees hindering the start to the season.
Kodjia and Jedinak are unavailable for Saturday’s game, while Grealish will have to wait at least three months to wear the no. 10 shirt, after his horrible injury against Watford.
Hull seem to be making a habit of selling half their squad each season, but they have brought in a few new recruits (namely Kevin Stewart from Liverpool and Chelsea loanees Aina and Hector). Don’t forget the firepower they have in the form of Abel Hernandez, and January signing Grosicki is still there – for now, anyway.
Signing Terry could help Villa deal with winning expectations this season but anything can happen in the first game of the season.
As well as this, the match is to be played in front of the Sky cameras, something we’re never very good at.
Despite being shown on UK TV several times last season, we only won once live on air (away at QPR)…
“This club belongs in the Premier League” – terry on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
In our last few years in the Premier League, there wasn’t many who we enjoyed good form against. Hull were one of the few who repeatedly struggled at Villa Park and we won all four Villa Park clashes against them in the Premier League era.
It was hoped by many Hull fans that Marco Silva would be the man to lead them to promotion after he oversaw an upturn in form last season, one that wasn’t enough to save them from the drop. Silva however left for Watford, so it’s ex-Russia boss Leonid Slutsky at the helm.
Having managed in the Champions League and winning titles in Russia with CSKA Moscow, it’s a good appointment for Hull, but it is his first season in England, in a highly competitive league.
Indeed the new man, who is the first Russian to manage in England, will be without key figures Davies, Huddlestone, Robertson and of course, Elmohamady. It’s a tough opening game for Hull at Villa Park, where our form improved last season.
We experienced it for ourselves last season. Relegation can be difficult to come back from. Hull City’s last Premier League was a 7-1 home defeat to Spurs – it can be a struggle to shift that losing mentality.
The arrival of John Terry has been a big boost for the squad and his willingness to step down a level shows that he feels promotion is achievable this season. It’s a signing that has got the fans back on side after a disappointing end to the season.
Of course, the Villa team could still change yet – let’s not forget Adama Traore played in our first home game last season – so the match on Saturday is not necessarily a shape of things to come.
But it is a chance to lay down a marker. With a packed out Villa crowd, let’s hope we get off to a good start.