Hull City vs Everton: Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Hull City and Everton clash on Friday evening with both clubs eager to end 2016 on a positive note.
The visitors are undoubtedly the favourites for the contest as they look to close the gap on sixth place and The Toffees come into the contest on the back of an impressive victory at the King Power Stadium against Leicester on Boxing Day. Ronald Koeman has hinted that he will look to rotate his squad, but Romelu Lukaku will be a pivotal figure as he aims to add to his current impressive goal tally (10).
Meanwhile Mike Phelan’s Hull City side are struggling at the bottom of the table. The Tigers are in the middle of a horrendous run of form in which they have demonstrated an inability to score or keep clean sheets and Phelan will be desperate to go into the New Year with a positive result. Hull are still only four point from safety, but they will need to start picking up points as soon as possible if they are to keep their hopes of survival alive.
Hull City are rooted to the foot of the table and are in desperate need of a positive result to halt their current run of poor form and spark some belief back into the club that they can secure survival. Mike Phelan’s side have won only once in the Premier League in their last sixteen fixtures and have lost all of their last three matches, failing to score in any of the contests. The Tigers have scored the lowest number of goals in the Premier League this season (14), have the second highest number of goals conceded (39), and the worst goal difference (-25). They did produce a much improved display against Manchester City last time out but capitulated in the final quarter of the game on their way to a 3-0 defeat.
Everton are consistently inconsistent in the Premier League. The Toffees currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League table, seven points behind Manchester United in sixth, and their recent form demonstrates how Ronald Koeman’s side blow hot and cold. They have won just two of their last eight games and have suffered four defeats, including losses at Stamford Bridge, Vicarage Road and a sickening last-gasp derby day defeat to Liverpool. However, during this same period they have beaten Arsenal (2-1), drawn with Manchester United (1-1) and secured a comfortable victory against reigning champions Leicester City in their last fixture (2-0). You never quite know what kind of performance Everton will produce from match to match.
Mike Phelan is likely to stick with the same 3-5-2 formation that he deployed against Manchester City on Boxing Day. The Tigers were able to hold their illustrious opponents for 72 minutes until Chris Robertson’s clumsy foul allowed Yaya Toure to score from the penalty spot, and it is likely that Phelan will take heart from his side’s display. Alex Bruce, Will Keane, Moses Odubajo and Greg Luer are all long term injury absentees whilst Abel Hernandez is unlikely to have recovered sufficiently from a hernia operation to be in contention. Allan McGregor remains an injury doubts but Ryan Mason and Shaun Maloney could be recalled to the starting eleven.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman has hinted that he will ring the changes when his team travels to the KCOM Stadium. The Dutch manager is keen to rotate his squad over the busy Christmas period in an attempt to keep his players fresh as he plots an assault on the top-six in the New Year. Maarten Stekelenberg, Yannick Bolasie, Muhamed Besic and Matthew Pennington are all long-term injury absentees whilst James McCarthy resumed training this week but is unlikely to feature.
Hull City Predicted Starting XI
Everton Predicted Starting XI
- Romelu Lukaku has scored in two of his last three appearances against Hull City.
- Hull were victorious in their previous meeting with Everton on New Years Day, 2015.
- Everton have scored in nine of their last ten league games against The Tigers.
- Both Hull City and Everton have ended their last two calendar years with defeats.
Key Man: Romelu Lukaku
Everton’s Belgian hit-man has already found the net ten times this season, included one against Leicester City on Boxing Day, and he remains The Toffee’s main attacking threat. Possessing pace, power, technique and composure in front of goal, expect the 23-year-old to play a key role for the visitors at the KCOM Stadium and do not be surprised if he gets on the score sheet.
The result of this contest relies almost entirely on what Everton team turns up at the KCOM Stadium on Friday evening. The current Toffee’s squad is full of quality but has failed to perform consistently over the last two months as they secured a somewhat mixed bag of results. Hull City were much improved in their previous fixture, but have struggled to score goals or keep clean sheets all season – not a profitable or encouraging mix. Mike Phelan will be hoping that his side can pick up a positive result so that he can delve into the January transfer window on the back of a confidence boost. However, expect Everton to ease to a victory.
Score Prediction: Hull City 1, Everton 3