After the excitement of a thrilling 3-2 win over title-contenders Manchester City last weekend, Aston Villa players and fans were brought back to reality following a rather forgetful goalless draw with Hull City.
Villa boss Paul Lambert had set his side up in a familiar 4-3-3 formation as the visitors went in search of their third victory in a row. It wasn't to be, though, with a severe lack of firepower clearly evident—the same can be said for Hull City.
The absences of Hull's Robbie Brady and Villa's Christian Benteke made for a drab affair with very little creativity on show, though Villa carved out the two best chances of the game.
Gabriel Agbonlahor drew a fine one-handed save from Alan McGregor before the break and then skewed an effort wide of the post from close range after the restart.
In truth, neither side were worthy of all three points.
The Villans face Tottenham next time out and Lambert will certainly have taken on board a few things in preparation for a clash against a side that dismantled his team 4-0 in the League Cup.
Here are six things we learned from Villa's boring draw with Hull.
Villa are very much a Jekyll and Hyde-type team
Not always a bad thing, this one. The majority of Villa fans will certainly not complain about their side's topsy-turvy form so long as they continue to surprise with victories over the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City, even if they struggle to break down Hull.
Villa were excellent on the opening day against Arsenal, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the following week and against the Citizens, but Lambert's men were atrocious against Newcastle and were only slightly better in the match with Hull.
Villa have, at times, been able to cut teams apart with their slick passing and clever movement—the likes of Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph influential. This wasn't the case against the Tigers, however, with the claret and blue outfit devoid of any meaningful ideas when going forward.
Villa's defence are starting to gel
Villa set a Premier League record over the past 12 months, but not one they're particularly proud of; they failed to keep a clean sheet in 27 matches. This barren run came to an end with the 1-0 over Norwich at Carrow Road—evidence that Lambert's relatively youthful and inexperienced side are starting to gel.
Injuries have forced Lambert to chop and change his back line this season, but the experienced Ron Vlaar has always remained central to Villa's defensive endeavour.
Hull were kept relatively quiet as the visitors kept back-to-back clean sheets away from home for the first time in three-and-a-half years.
El Mohammady could do with some crossing practice
Steve Bruce is obviously a very big fan of Ahmed Elmohamady after taking him to Hull from Sunderland where the two had worked together. Known for his commitment and his work rate, Elmohamady has been a big hit with the Hull fans. The Egyptian had a bad day at the office against Villa, though.
Countless times throughout the match Hull looked to attack with intent, only for Elmohamady's final ball to let him down.
The Sports Network's commentator expressed disappointment in the Egyptian's performance: “He's got to be the worst crosser of the ball I've seen in the Premier League.”
The winger was replaced late on much to the delight of the home fans.
Kozak and Weimann certainly aren't a deadly pairing
As expected, Villa are missing Benteke. The Belgian, sidelined with a hip flexor injury, was Villa's saviour last season—in this campaign, he had notched four goals in five appearances, before the injury.
Villa scraped past Norwich thanks to Libor Kozak's goal and then somehow beat Man City, but Lambert's options up front will see Villa fall short.
Kozak and Weimann were paired together in the astonishing win over Man City but, despite the final scoreline, didn't really trouble the likes of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic. Villa's victory was, for most parts, down to City's ability to self-destruct and a questionable call from the referee's officials.
Lambert reverted back to his trusted 4-3-3 formation for the clash against the Tigers, with Weimann operating from a wide-right position, but after an unsuccessful 70 minutes the Villa boss gave the two another chance to partner each other up front.
As the scoreline suggests, the pair were unable to create anything of note.
El Ahmadi is starting to turn around fans' opinions
Karim El Ahmadi has many critics amongst the Villa fans. His performances upon his return from the African Cup of Nations last season fell woefully short of what Villa fans expect from their players. The Moroccan was a bystander during the first few games this season which led to many fans calling for a replacement in the side.
Lambert has stuck with his man, though, and he is starting to be repaid.
El Ahmadi had, undoubtedly, one of the worst games of his life against Newcastle but has since come back and performed like the player that Lambert thought he'd signed in 2012.
Though nothing spectacular against Hull, El Ahmadi showed hunger and desire and was one of only a few players to show promise in the goalless draw.
Hull continue to struggle against Villa
Before today, Villa had won their last eight meetings against Hull in all competitions. Four of those matches were in the Premier League. And although Villa were unable to claim another win against the Tigers, their unbeaten run continues.
Hull's last points against Villa came in August 1987 with a 2-1 victory at home.
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