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Aston Villa vs Hull City: Championship match preview, predicted line-ups and score prediction

Philip Marsh

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa versus Hull City is a fixture most would associate with the top flight of English football. However, this season they meet at Villa Park in the second-tier, both hoping to get back to the promised land.

The Midland side, managed by Steve Bruce, are many people’s favourites for promotion. The Tigers are not as well fancied as Villa, but there is definitely potential for a play-off spot.

Last season had its ups and downs for Villa. Poor form at the start of the season led to the sacking of Tim Sherwood. Steve Bruce’s subsequent arrival helped the club, but enough damage had already been done and they finished mid-table.

Meanwhile, Hull spent last season in the Premier League but were relegated alongside Middlesbrough and Sunderland. The Tiger’s defence shipped 80 goals during the season, 10 more than any other side, and ultimately, even Marco Silva’s magic was not enough to keep them safe.

Both sides have spent the summer looking for new recruits, but none as ground-breaking as John Terry’s move to Aston Villa. The defender has won everything there is to win in English football and made 78 international caps along the way.

Terry has taken the armband at Villa Park and will prove to be a massive influence in his first season outside the top flight for 17 years.

Pre-season 

Aston Villa have had a successful preseason which included a trip to Germany. The Villains comfortably beat Kidderminster and Telford before tasting defeat to Shrewsbury and drawing with Walsall.

Over in Germany, Villa won both their matches. Firstly they beat third-tier side MSV Duisburg before their most impressive win against Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin.

The final pre-season game was Graham Taylor’s Tribute match, which ended 0-0 against Watford.

Hull City’s only pre-season defeat game in their first game against Oxford. Since that game the Tigers have gone on to beat Bristol Rovers and Portuguese giants Benfica.

Their final two matches, against Nantes and Ajax, both ended as draws. The 3-3 draw against the Dutch side was held behind closed doors.

Team News

One thing Villa have not been lucky with the past six months in injuries. Steve Bruce’s injury list is getting longer and longer. Two of Villa’s key players, Kodija and Grealish, are set to miss the season opener.

Grealish picked up a freak kidney injury against Watford, and Bruce told the Mirror that his pre-season work had been geared around the youngster.

New signing Mile Jedinak is another doubt. The Australian international suffered a groin injury whilst on international duty back in June. However, he has recovered quicker than expected and is in contention to start against Hull.

For the Tigers, Ryan Mason is still out after his life-threatening skull fracture back in January. Thankfully for the midfielder he is still recovering well.

Striker Will Keane will also miss the trip to Villa Park. The former Manchester United youngster picked up a cruciate ligament problem last November, and is not expected to return for a few more months.

Predicted Line-ups

As with any opening fixture, it is difficult to say exactly which eleven players each manager will field. Both teams have a whole host of players who may or may not start at Villa Park.

For Villa and Hull, the most competitive position for places is up front. Hogan, McCormack and Agbonlahor will all think they deserve to start for Villa and Kodija’s injury has given each a chance.

The proven strikers for the Tigers are Hernandez and Campbel. However, youngster Jarrod Bowen has been unstoppable in pre-season so may well keep his place.

Score Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Hull City

Captained by one of England’s best-ever defenders, Aston Villa will be a fixture every other team will fear, especially at Villa Park. The home fans will create a terrific atmosphere and be the twelfth man their team deserves.

Aston Villa’s strength in depth this season will be crucial from the very first game. Regardless of the eleven who start against Hull, the bench will be full of game-changing players.

Saturday’s visitors simply cannot match Villa’s bench, and the hosts are, therefore, likely to dominate the latter stages of the game.

The Tigers will not back down without a fight and Slutsky will demand 100% from every player. Hernandez, Campbell and others are proven match winners, but Saturday will be as tough a test as any.

It should be an entertaining encounter with a number of exciting match-ups, but Villa will take the spoils.

Philip is a Computer Science graduate with a Masters in Journalism. He supports his home-town club Cardiff City but enjoys watching any game he can. You can find Philip on Twitter @PhilipTSMarsh.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa want Stephane Bahoken, who had woeful St Mirren loan in 2013-14

Aston Villa and a heap of other teams want the Cameroon international this summer.

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Aston Villa are said to be one of four English teams chasing the Strasbourg striker Stephane Bahoken this summer. France Football says Villa are keen, along with Swansea and Stoke City. The Express also mention Brighton, stating the Seagulls are frontrunners for the player.

Aston Villa’s interest will not be a surprise to many. They were heavily linked with Bahoken’s signature in January as well. SFR reported in the winter that Aston Villa wanted to bring him in on loan until the end of the season. Strasbourg refused but with his contract expiring this summer Aston Villa look set to return.

(Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)

But something that is not being spoken about from the player’s past is his loan spell at Scottish side St Mirren.

Bahoken joined the Paisley side on loan from former club Nice in the summer of 2013. It should have been an exciting experience for the club and the player, but it was anything but.

Bahoken played four times for the club before the deal was cancelled in December. After a month in which another loan move failed to be ratified he headed back to the Scottish Premiership side. But, he did not play another game for the club. Four games, zero goals. It was a disaster for the Cameroonian striker.

Such a disastrous stint north of the border must be something Aston Villa and any other interested party will be concerned about.

(Photo credit should read XAVIER LEOTY/AFP/Getty Images)

He himself even admitted to being like a ‘spoilt kid’ at the club when talking to the Daily Record. He vowed to become a man.

It would be fair to say Bahoken has come a long way since his disastrous loan in Scotland.

After leaving Nice for Strasbourg in 2014 he quickly became very important for the team. This season he has scored seven goals in 23 games and his displays even earned him a first call-up to the Cameroon national team this year.

Aston Villa know that his signature would be a risk, based on his St Mirren disaster and rather muted goal record.

But seeing as he is a free transfer, it might be worth rolling the dice.

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Aston Villa

Lovre Kalinic best keeper in Belgium, two years after red tape scuppered Aston Villa move

The Croatian has been in fine form since his move to KAA Gent.

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Back in January 2016, it looked like Aston Villa had found themselves a new goalkeeper. It looked like Croatian stopper Lovre Kalinic was on his way to join Villa – who at the time seemed doomed to relegation from the Premier League. The giant goalkeeper had been in talks with Villa for some time and the Daily Mail reported that a £4.9 million fee had been agreed between Villa and his club, Hajduk Split.

It soon emerged however that Kalinic would not be making the move. As reported by Index Kalinic did not have the requisite qualifications to be eligible for a work permit to play football in the UK. He had not fulfilled the quota of playing 75 percent of games for Croatia in the past two years – playing just once.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

That summer Aston Villa signed Italian Pierluigi Gollini, whilst Kalinic remained in Croatia until the following January. In the winter window of 2017, the goalie headed to Belgium, joining KAA Gent for a club record fee.

To say his move has been a success would be an understatement. Kalinic has been in fine form for the Belgian side. Despite playing just half of last season he was named the Goalkeeper of the Season in Belgium. He has just received the same accolade for the current campaign.

Aston Villa eventually did find a new goalkeeper, with Sam Johnstone arriving on loan from Manchester United.

But with his deal expiring at the end of the season, and Villa chasing promotion, should they return for Kalinic two years down the line?

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,)

The 28-year-old is clearly good enough to make the step to English football and at one point was very excited to head to Villa Park.

He has played much more regularly for the Croatian national team and is now in a genuine battle with Monaco’s Danijel Subasic to be number one at this summer’s World Cup. If Kalinic can get the nod there, then a work permit will no longer be an issue.

With Johnstone only on loan, Aston Villa need to consider the fact they might need to find a different keeper in the summer. Two years ago they found the perfect man for the job in the form of the 6ft 5ins goalie but red tape stopped his arrival.

This summer they should surely consider going for Kalinic once again.

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Ritchie De Laet has now been dropped by his loan club

The Aston Villa defender is now struggling for football at Antwerp.

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Photo: Getty Images

When Aston Villa started to make wholesale improvements to the squad in the summer of 2016 they went on a spending spree bringing in talent good enough for the Premier League. One man they snapped up was even a Premier League winner the season before.

Ritchie De Laet was snapped up in the summer of 2016 after a season in which he won both the Premier League with Leicester City and promotion with Middlesbrough whilst on loan.

Considering he had also won promotion with Leicester in 2014, he looked the perfect addition to the Aston Villa fold.

Unfortunately, that has not proved to be the case.

The Belgian defender, who cost a fee reported by The Sun to be in the region of £2.5 million, was earmarked as the solution to Villa’s problem position of right-back.

However, De Laet never managed to have any sustained impact at Villa. He played just three times in his first season at the club before picking up a knee injury against Brentford. He was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the season.

This term he managed to feature sporadically through the first-half of the season but in January found himself out of contention. The 29-year-old was therefore sent out on loan to his boyhood club Royal Antwerp until the end of the season.

He immediately went into the starting XI for the Belgian side but has recently been dropped for the Europa League play-off fixtures.

It comes after a switch to 3-5-2 from his loan club, who have preferred to play Benfica loanee Aurelio Buta at right wing-back ahead of De Laet.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This will certainly not have been the plan for De Laet, who will have hoped to have found his best form again in Belgium. However, it has not been that straightforward and he now finds himself on the bench.

This summer will be interesting for De Laet. It certainly does not seem as though Steve Bruce sees him as an Aston Villa player in the future. If the Villans can also capture promotion, it is expected new faces will arrive to push De Laet even further down the pecking order.

Thriving out on loan might have changed the mind of a few figures at Villa Park.

But seeing as he is not even an immediate starter with Antwerp, Aston Villa will likely consider him dispensable in the summer.

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