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Hull City - Match Preview


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Chelsea travel to the KC Stadium for the 12:45 UK time early kick off on Saturday, January 11th 2014 to face Steve Bruce’s Hull City Tigers.

The Match

Nominated by everyone to go down at the start of the season, Hull have well and truly exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. Steve Bruce will be very to see his team sitting comfortably in mid-table at 10th and 6 points off the relegation zone 20 games into the season. This achievement is largely due their form in the KC stadium. The Tigers are at a staggering 5th place in the home table with 5 wins and only 2 losses in 10 games and their fans can thank their in-form keeper and back four for this incredible form. They have conceded the joint least number of goals at home (6). Bruce will definitely be relying on this home form and Chelsea’s average away form to get something from the match on Saturday.

Chelsea, on the other hand, will be looking to continue on their best form of the season so far. An excellent Christmas period saw the Blues secure some important wins and stay within two points of the leaders Arsenal with 4 wins in the last 5 matches. Spurred on by the performances of their Belgian star, Eden Hazard, Jose Mourinho’s team have managed to be back on track for a title challenge after the usual November slump.


Chelsea came up against Hull 5 previous times in the EPL winning three of them and drawing the other two. As for the managers, Jose Mourinho has faced Steve Bruce on 6 occasions before Saturday, five of which were when Bruce was the manager of Birmingham City. The Portuguese has the obvious advantage in this match-up, winning 4 of the matches and drawing the other two.

Last Meeting

The two sides last met in the opening match of the season at the Bridge when first-half goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard were enough to ensure that Jose Mourinho’s welcome back party was on. Chelsea played some of their best football during that first 45 mins and should have ended the half with a couple of goals more after missing many chances the most notable of which was a Frank Lampard penalty miss. It is worth noting, though, that Hull were able to contain Chelsea in the second half and prevent them from creating any meaningful chances after manager Steve Bruce introduced Livermore and Huddlestone.

Key Men

Apart from the solid defense, Tom Huddlestone has been the stand out man in Steve Bruce’s Hull this season. Leading the team with the most tackles, successful passes, key passes and shots, the ex-Spurs man has relished the freedom of his box-to-box role under Bruce. But I’m sure Jose has a plan for him which probably includes being man-marked by Oscar.

Scottish keeper, Allan McGregor, has also been in terrific form for the Tigers, coming up with terrific saves at important times much to the pleasure of Steve Bruce who went as far as saying that if Allan was English, he would be going to the world cup.

Team News

Chelsea will be without the services of Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic for this match; both of whom were ruled out till the end of the month. They join the long-term injured Marco van Ginkel and most likely, maybe, probably not, the mystical Ryan Betrand unless he has already been sold but the club did not announce it.

Hull, on the other hand will be missing all of Fryatt, Brady, Dudgeon and Aluko for this match; the last one probably being the biggest miss for Bruce.

Expected Lineups

Probably for the first time in quite some time, the Chelsea team practically picks itself with the absence of Iva and Frank and the form of Oscar, Willian and Hazard. So unless Jose decides to go with 4-3-3 or rest a player or two like Mikel who just yesterday returned from Nigeria, it’s very likely that we see something like:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpi, Cahill, JT, Cole; Rami, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.

Bruce is likely to continue with the 3-5-2 that seems to suite his Tigers the best with El Mohammady and Figueroa bombing up and down the flanks:

Hull (3-5-2): McGregor; Chester, Bruce, Davies; El Mohammady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Figueroa; Sagbo, Graham.

Facts and Stats

-Hull have won 5 of their 10 home matches this season and their points tally at home of 18 points is a better return than Man United and Spurs.

-Despite winning 2 of their last 3 home games against top-six opponents, Hull have lost 8 of 11 in total since 2008/09.

-No side has conceded fewer home goals than Hull this term (6).

-Chelsea haven’t beaten a promoted side away from home in the last two seasons (W0 D3 L3).

-The Blues points return of 43 is their highest at this stage since they last won the league in 2009/10.

-Hull City last defeated Chelsea back in October 1988. The Blues have been unbeaten in the 9 matches between the two sides since.

-Torres scored his third and final Hat-Trick for Liverpool against Hull City in 2009.

-If he plays, this will be Fernando’s 200th EPL appearance.

-Steve Bruce has won just one of his 18 matches against Chelsea in the EPL, losing 12 of them.

-Petr Cech has kept 149 clean sheets in the EPL.

Match Odds

According to SkyBet:

Hull 11/2

Draw 3/1

Chelsea 4/7

TV Coverage

This match will be live on BT Sport in the UK, NBC Sports in the US, Canal+ Sport in France, and BeIN Sports in the Middle East. You can check where the game will be broadcasted in your country here or you can follow the game via our min-by-min Twitter match feed.

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