Manchester City will be aiming to make it three successive wins to keep themselves in title contention when they travel to rock bottom Hull City this evening. City could be as many as 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea when they kick-off at 5.15pm, so only a victory will do for Pep Guardiola’s men. For Hull boss Mike Phelan, the pressure is mounting after a poor run of results since he was appointed the club’s manager on a permanent basis. Anything other than a defeat at the KCOM Stadium would be a welcome boost for his embattled troops.
Unsurprisingly for a team at the foot of the table, Hull’s recent form does not make for good reading. The Tigers, who were promoted via the Championship play-offs last term, have collected only two points from their previous six outings, with their last victory coming against Southampton on November 6. It’s a far cry from the back-to-back victories with which they kicked off the season. City themselves have had problems of late, with Guardiola’s tactics drawing criticism. But wins over Watford and Arsenal have steadied the ship and kept them in the top four. Inconsistency has been their problem.
Hull striker Abel Hernandez is out until the New Year after undergoing hernia surgery and although Allan McGregor is back in training, this fixture may come too early for him. For the visitors, Sergio Aguero serves the final game of the four-match suspension he received for that X-rated challenge on Chelsea’s David Luiz, but Fernandinho is available after completing his ban. A late decision will be made on whether to select Pablo Zabaleta, who is suffering from a knee problem.
Hull City starting XI Manchester City starting XI
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Even the most optimistic Hull City supporter will struggle to see any way their side can add to their points tally in this match. It looks to be a nailed-on away victory – but the unpredictability of the Premier League means nothing is certain. City manager Guardiola will give his opponents respect, but surely be happy only with a comfortable victory as they look to get their title charge back on tack. Hull may be rock bottom, but they are only three points adrift of safety. A draw would be a huge boost to their survival chances, although it’s difficult to envisage City dropping points here. Away win