Hull City vs Manchester United: Match preview and predicted line-ups
The late game on Saturday sees two sides with a 100% record face off at the KCOM Stadium. Manchester United were expected to start strongly, but it has been a shock to see Hull pick up six points in their opening two matches. They were tipped to struggle after a turbulent summer. However, the lack of expectation has galvanised them and their fighting team spirit could make it tough for Manchester United on Saturday. Mike Phelan is the caretaker manager at Hull City and he will relish the opportunity to face Manchester United given his history with the club. Hull City have a bad record in this fixture, failing to beat Manchester United since 1974.
The home side have started the season in great form, despite being the favourites for relegation. They have yet to make a signing and have lost players since the end of last season. Steve Bruce chose to resign before the season started, which emphasises the problems at board room level. However they have started with back-to-back wins against Leicester City and Swansea City, with two excellent team performances. Mike Phelan has implemented a togetherness at the club and they have been great value for both wins. They are still going to be involved in a relegation battle, but if they continue to play at the level they have been, the season won’t be as disastrous as many predicted.
Manchester United have arguably been the best side in the league over the first two matches. They have been excellent to watch and their transfer business this summer has taken them to a new level. The signings of Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have strengthened the core of the side, which was needed after an underwhelming last three years. They look dangerous in attack and have been solid at the back. They have convincingly beaten both Bournemouth and Southampton. Although they haven’t offered the sternest tests, Manchester United can only beat what is in front of them and they look like they will set the pace during the opening few months.
Hull City’s side is easy to predict as they don’t have a squad. Harry Maguire returned in the EFL Cup and looks set to start this weekend, allowing Jake Livermore to play in his favoured centre midfield role. The club need to strengthen before the transfer window closes, otherwise the task ahead looks increasingly difficult. Shaun Maloney came on against Swansea City and scored the opening goal for Hull. There is a possibility he will come in for Adama Diomande and play off Abel Hernandez, but I expect Phelan will start the match with two strikers. Maloney had a good impact from the bench and should be used in the same role this weekend.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have the opposite problem to Hull, in that they have an excellent squad with lots of different options. Jose Mourinho is likely to keep the same line-up though, as they played well on Friday and nobody underperformed. As the season progresses, Mourinho will rotate, especially in the cup competitions and his first choice eleven is going to change. Henrikh Mkhitaryan hasn’t been given a start yet and is an option this weekend to play instead of Juan Mata, but I expect Mourinho to stick with the Spaniard.
Hull City predicted starting XI Manchester United predicted starting XI
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Micheal Dawson is going to be missing until October due to a knee ligament injury, but the return of Harry Maguire to the squad is a boost. Moses Odubajo, Alex Bruce and Allan McGregor are all missing for Hull City, which means that Mike Phelan still has a limited squad to choose from.
Jesse Lingard is set to return to action this weekend after picking up a knock in the Community Shield. Jose Mourinho appears to be a big fan of the winger and he could feature this weekend. There is no need to rush him back into the starting eleven, but I’d expect him to be among the substitutes.
Hull City have been excellent during the first two weeks, but it will be difficult to maintain that level of performance. They won’t be expecting to take anything from the game and in that aspect, they can play with freedom and that can be a good thing. That said, Manchester United have looked as good as they have done since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and under Jose Mourinho, they won’t be complacent in matches like this one. They won’t underestimate Hull, but the huge gap in quality should show on Saturday. I expect Manchester United to prevail and they could do so in some style.
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