Aston Villa v Hull
Aston Villa will be very happy with the start they have made to the campaign, picking up four points from a possible six so far and should rightly go into the game in buoyant fashion. They are one of only two teams who are yet to concede this season, and they will hope to extend their run of clean sheets to three games to ensure their second win from their opening three fixtures.
Aston Villa’s defensive solidity has provided the perfect foundation for them to pick up points in their first two games, and American shot stopper Brad Guzan has started the season in fine form with six saves across his two appearances. According to EA SPORTS Players Performance Index, the Villain’s centre backs have also been in fine form with Philippe Senderos completing 12 clearances, and Dutch international Ron Vlaar completing 16 clearances. Whilst Vlaar has won both of his two tackles in his opening two games, he has made as many interceptions and Senderos has made three interceptions which points to how well the pairing are reading the game.
At the other end of the pitch, Andreas Weimann has netted Villa’s only goal of the season so far, in their opening day victory against Stoke. He will be hoping to add to that tally this weekend. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that his finish against Stoke was the only shot that he has taken in two games, and getting more shots off could be the key to his success. He is a hard worker, making two interceptions and getting three crosses into the box for his teammates.
In the middle of the park, Villa will rely on Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph to win the battle of the engine rooms. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows us that the pair have covered more ground than anyone else in the squad so far, with Westwood covering 23.67km and Delph completing 21.95km in their opening two games of the season. Delph has completed seven of his eight dribbles so far this season and Westwood has completed 82.43% of his passes, both of which are more than anybody else in the Villa squad. They will need to use their drive and ball retention to conquer the Hull midfield come Sunday.
Hull have started the season sharply with four points from a possible six, whilst also having to juggle their squad due to European commitments. Hull responded quickly from the disappointment of losing the FA Cup Final to Arsenal with an opening day win away at QPR and will be looking to pick up their second consecutive away win to help maintain their position in the European places.
Much like Aston Villa, Hull’s good start to the season has been built on the solid backbone of a good defence. Hull’s shot stopper Allan McGregor has been in equally good form according to EA SPORTS Player Performance index, making seven saves in his first two games. James Chester and Curtis Davies have bolstered that defensive solidity with 14 and 23 clearances respectively, and Paul McShane deputising for the injured Alex Bruce has also made an impressive 19 clearances. James Chester has also added a further three blocks and three interceptions in his first two games, and it is crucial that the back three continue their strong start to the campaign to ensure victory.
Hull’s midfield star Tom Huddlestone has also has also impressed in his opening two games of the season, grabbing an assist already. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also shows that he has won four of his five tackles, completed seven clearances, made two interceptions and also made two blocks. His work rate has been impeccable and he has covered 22.64km in his first two games; the second most ground covered by any Hull player. Hull’s other former Tottenham starlet Jake Livermore has completed 24.08km, and the pair will look to keep up their work rate to win the battle of the midfield.
Up top, Hull’s Nikica Jelavic will look to double his goal tally on the weekend after opening his account against Stoke last weekend. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that his finish against Stoke was in fact the only shot Jelavic has found the target with in his opening two games of the season. Jelavic’s three dribbles and three attempts on goal show his direct nature though and his hard work in completing 21.51km in his first two matches shows willingness to close down defenders.