Villa v Hull: Head To Head
ASTON VILLA 4-2 Portsmouth
Villa powered their way past a weakened Pompey to book their place in the Carling Cup semi-final. Stuart Downing made his full debit for Villa managing to get on the score sheet in the process. James Milner was the star man in the central midfield role with an assist for Heskey`s equaliser after a Petrov own goal, and a superb finish of his own. Ashley Young made himself the fourth England World Cup hopeful to get on the score sheet after a late scare following Kanu`s goal.
HULL CITY 1 - 1 Manchester City
Wright Phillips gave Man City the lead in stoppage time of the first half with a fortunate deflection of Anthony Gardner, which without, you feel Matt Duke would have saved. But with Hull gaining momentum in the second half Vennegor of Hesselink was fouled in the area to win a penalty that Bullard converted for a deserved draw.
James Milner: One of Villa`s most consistent performers this season and with a World Cup place becoming more and more assured. Milner is always a tough nut to crack with the ability to do it all. He can tackle, pass, cross & shoot and as such will be a real danger.
Jimmy Bullard: The ugly one seems to have put his injuries behind him and earned a point against Man City with a penalty and will be a danger to any team given the freedom to roam the midfield.
With the major boost to Villa`s confidence coming from the comfortable away win at Pompey followed by the fortunate draw in the semi-finals, you have to feel that the players will be up for this one. O`Neill shouldn`t be making drastic changes to the starting line up with only Guzan making way for Friedel and Downing for Reo-Coker but don`t be surprised if Heskey keeps his place in the team.
Before the draw at the City of Manchester Stadium, Hull proved that they are just as susceptible to second half syndrome as Villa. Leading 3-0 at half time they did their utmost to throw away the win gifting Everton two goals. They have an equally appalling record of clean sheets this season with only 2 to their name so goals should be guaranteed.
Phil Brown would happily come away from the game with a draw so you have to feel that the onus is Martin O`Neill to get his team attacking from the off and get Hull on the back-foot early on. If they achieve this then a Villa win in front of the home faithful should be on the cards.
Hull are more than capable of flashes of brilliance from players like Vennegor of Hesselink, Geovanni & Bullard so don`t expect a Villa clean sheet.
Aston Villa 3-1 Hull City