Two of the Premier League’s most out of form clubs go head to head on Tuesday, with points to prove as well as gain.
Hull City and Aston Villa face each other at the KC Stadium following dreadful runs for both teams. Both managers will be well aware that a victory would be a massive confidence boost, as well as a platform to kick-start their season.
Both sides were unlucky not to do better against the top two on Saturday. Villa finally broke their dry spell with their first league goal in 11 hours, scored by Jores Okore. But Chelsea proved too strong and goals from Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic gave the London side victory at Villa Park, leaving Villains manager Paul Lambert disappointed but reflective.
Hull managed to cause an upset at second-placed Manchester City – a draw which caused the Sky Blues to drop seven points behind Chelsea and frustrate Manuel Pellegrini. The Tigers shocked the Etihad Stadium crowd by taking the lead through a 35th minute David Meyler strike, before City equalised in dramatic fashion; a superb late free kick by versatile England midfielder James Milner.
Both Hull and Villa’s managers were pleased with their teams’ performances, if not their results, but attention will now be focused on a huge tie in East Yorkshire, where three points would mean so much to both teams.
Hull desperately require a victory to ease their relegation worries, having claimed victories in only two out of 17 league games since October 2014. They signed Senegalese striker Dame N’Doye on transfer deadline day and hope the former Lokomotiv Moscow player can provide a boost to their faltering strike force, which has seen the club scored just 21 goals so far this term. While Hull are hardly scoring for fun, their tally is still made to look impressive compared to Villa’s paltry 12 goals scored this term, Okore’s finish was his side’s first league goal since December and Lambert will be determined to see his side improve their goalscoring rate by going for the win on Tuesday.
The game will prove an excellent opportunity for both side sides to build momentum after troubled campaigns so far; Hull’s which has been so injury blighted and Villa’s depressingly low in goals.
The spotlight could fall on Villa new boy Carles Gil, who has shown promise so far with a wonderful strike in the FA cup third-round tie against Bournemouth, or equally on Hull’s latest capture N’Doye, who is set to make his home debut.
Either way, both clubs will know that this is a game that could mark a turnaround in their seasons, giving them some much needed momentum and providing their fans with some rare cause for celebration.