Mark Hughes’ side travel to the KCOM on Saturday in search of consecutive wins in the Premier League for the first time since February as he looks to expose Hull City’s defensive frailties.
Hull City vs Stoke City
Competition: Premier League
Date: Saturday 22nd October 2016
KO Time: 15:00GMT
Venue: KCOM Stadium, Kingston upon Hull
Latest betting odds (bet365):
Our prediction: Stoke to win, and BTTS – 4/1
Long-shot: Marko Arnautovic to score anytime, and Stoke City to win 3-1 – 30/1
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Mike Phelan will be hoping to pick up three points for the first time since late August as his struggling Hull side welcome Stoke City to the KCOM Stadium in search of a vital three points. Hull were on the wrong end of a 6-1 battering away to Bournemouth last Saturday, and without first team left-back, Andy Robertson, who’s been ruled out for eight weeks with a calf-strain, Phelan has no option but to throw 17-year-old Josh Tymon in the deep end for his first Premier League start.
Hull will be hoping for a repeat scoreline of the EFL Cup tie last month tomorrow, when they snatched a 2-1 win at the bet365 Stadium minutes before extra-time seemingly loomed. It was a result which Phelan would have hoped to push on from, however, his Hull side have conceded a massive THIRTEEN goals in just three games, picking up an unhealthy zero points along the way.
Their fortunes got much worse as well this week, when Moses Odubajo, fresh from injury after a lengthy lay-off shattered his kneecap, ruling him out for the majority of this season.
Skipper Michael Dawson is expected to return at the heart of the Hull City defence, alongside skipper Curtis Davies as they look to battle relegation this season.
Both sides are in desperate need for victory, and it should serve to provide a real cracker at the KCOM.
What the manager has said:
MP: “I don’t see why we should be fragile. We learn hard lessons and we’ve certainly learned a few over the last few weeks.
“But character has to come into it. We’re in the big league and the big league demands that your big players turn up and perform. If we do that, more times than not we’ll win football matches.”
Hull City Predicted XI:
Marshall; Elmohamady, Dawson, Davies, Tymon; Huddlestone, Mason, Livermore; Maloney, Hernandez, Snodgrass.
MATCH FACTS [bbcsport]:
- Hull have won just one of the eight Premier League meetings (D3, L4).
- The Tigers won 2-1 at Stoke in the EFL Cup third round on 21 September.
- Stoke have only conceded one goal in the last five league encounters.
- Hull have lost their last four league games, conceding 17 goals in the process.
- They have gone six league matches without a victory (D1, L5).
- Hull and opponents Stoke have both conceded a Premier League-high seven goals from set pieces this season.
- Only Middlesbrough and Burnley have had fewer attempts on goal than Hull’s 68 this season.
- The Tigers have allowed a Premier League-high 184 shots on their goal – 30 more than any other side.
- Stoke are without an away league victory in seven matches since beating Watford in March (D2, L5).
- The Potters kept a first clean sheet in 18 league fixtures last weekend.
- Mark Hughes has never lost a Premier League game against Hull as a manager (W3, D4).
- Joe Allen has scored in three successive league games for the first time in his career.
Mark Hughes insists his Stoke side sense an opportunity when they make the journey to the KCOM tomorrow afternoon. Undefeated in three, and fresh off the back of their first win of the season, tomorrow is the perfect time for a confident Stoke team to take advantage of a frail Hull City back-line and continue their surge up the Premier League table.
Hughes has a dilemma on his hands though, as first and second choice right-backs Glen Johnson and Phil Bardsley are both ruled out.
He can either opt for Geoff Cameron, who’s spent the majority of his time at right-back for The Potters, who’s seemingly the best fit for that option. That, however, means shifting him from central midfield, a position he’s really nailed down for the past few weeks.
Or he could opt to pick Marc Muniesa there. Muniesa came on at right-back for Stoke last Saturday, and if Hughes wants to keep Geoff Cameron’s presence in midfield, Muniesa could be a handy fit for Stoke tomorrow.
Giannelli Imbula will also be hoping he makes the teamsheet tomorrow, after missing out on the 18 altogether for the last few weeks.
Xherdan Shaqiri will also be licking his lips tonight after he could potentially be facing the afore mentioned Josh Tymon who is being thrown in the deep end by boss Phelan.
What the manager has said:
MH: “He’s a great guy and I’m really pleased he’s got the opportunity.
“He obviously wouldn’t have wanted his first game to go like that and get beaten so comprehensively but he’s a good coach and a good guy and he had an immediate impact when he first got the role after Steve Bruce left so he’s clearly well thought of there.
“I think he’ll be good for them, although there have been a lot of outside distractions and maybe a change of ownership in the offing. So Mike, as the manager, has to deal with that and cope with that and that’s not easy when that’s hanging around in the background.”
Stoke City Predicted XI:
Grant; Muniesa, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Cameron; Shaqiri, Allen, Arnautovic, Bony.