EPL Preview: Aston Villa v. Hull City

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IMay 3, 2009

EPL Preview: Aston Villa Vs Hull City, Villa Park, Birmingham, Monday 4th May, 20:00BST.


It was the last game of 2008 that the Villains met the Tigers at the KC Stadium and the game was full of incident, but not for the right reasons.

It was the game after the Eastlands affair for Hull City, where Phil Brown famously had his half time team talk on the pitch. The team had five major changes from the Manchester City game.

Within minutes the referee was involved with his assistants. Hull City's Nick Barmby had a goal disallowed on five minutes for a foul on Brad Friedel when in fact it was one of the Villa defenders that committed the offence.

In a game that was more like a poor game of chess the bad early decision from the referee could have made all the difference for the fans at the KC stadium.

In the closing minutes of the game Ashley Young managed to race clear of Ricketts for the first time in the game and put in a superb cross to the Hull City near post for the Tiger's Kamil Zayatte to turn past the despairing dive of Boaz Myhill.

1-0 to the Villans, but that wasn't the end of the show. On the stroke of full time a a shot on goal from the Tigers was adjudged to have been handled of the line by Luke Young. The referee (if you could actually call him one) Steve Bennett blew for a penalty for the Tigers.

With the Aston Villa players surrounding Bennett and remonstrating that it wasn't a penalty the Villa skipper Gareth Barry spoke to the linesman who informed him that he had been told it wasn't a penalty on the video.

Barry then asked the ref to speak to the linesman. Bennett succumbed to the pressure and talked to the linesman. He then did a full 180 and changed his mind, and overturned his earlier decision.

What was witnessed was the first instance of video evidence overturning a referees decision in an actual game. Much to the annoyance of the East Yorkshire team as they deserved more from the game than to lose from an unlucky own goal and to be cheated by the use of video evidence which is against the FA's own rules.

Monday's game sees both the Tigers and the Villans form in disarray. The Tigers haven't won since a last minute winner against Fulham at Craven Cottage at the beginning of March.The Villains are similarly struggling for form having not won since Feburary 7th but meet the Tigers on the back of three straight draws.

Martin O'Neill will be hoping to see the return of three influential players. Right back Luke Young has been suffering from a foot injury, Nigel Reo-Cocker (knee) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (hamstring) all face late fitness tests.

Phil Brown has an almost fully fit squad to pick from, with the exception of long term injured Anthony Gardner and Jimmy Bullard. Although the Tiger's boss was particularly upset at Irish international Caleb Folan's foolhardy challenge last week against Liverpool that saw him dismissed with a red card.