The FourFourTwo Preview: Southampton vs Hull

Premier League | St Mary's | Sat 9 Nov | 3pm

Billed as

Another easy-on-the-eye Saints stroll on the south coast.

The lowdown

Southampton will be glad to get back to the home comforts of St Mary’s after an indifferent week on the road. Mauricio Pochettino’s men conceded only their fourth goal of the season in both brisk and bizarre circumstances at Stoke, as goalkeeper Asmir Begovic’s windswept kick sailed over Artur Boruc.

SOUTHAMPTON FORM

  • S’land 2-1 So'ton (LC)
  • Stoke 1-1 So'ton (Prem)
  • So'ton 2-0 Fulham (Prem)
  • Man Utd 1-1 So'ton (Prem)
  • So'ton 2-0 Swansea (Prem)

HULL FORM

  • Hull 1-0 S'land (Prem)
  • Spurs p2-2 Hull (LC)
  • Spurs 1-0 Hull (Prem)
  • Everton 2-1 Hull (Prem)
  • Hull 0-0 Villa (Prem)

Even Potters boss Mark Hughes admitted the elements conspired to ‘ruin’ last weekend’s score draw, but the Saints were still able to craft a stylish goal – even more impressive in the conditions – to ensure they left Stoke with a point.

Pochettino made 11 changes for the League Cup clash at Sunderland on Wednesday and paid the price as his side suffered their second loss of the season. The Argentine will want normal service to resume against the Tigers; the Saints have won each of their last four home games 2-0 and not conceded at St Mary’s since Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini headed home at the end of August.
 
Hull continue to make a good fist of their first season back among the elite after another 1-0 home win – their fourth of the campaign – against (yes, you guessed it) Sunderland last time out. Their KC Stadium solitude means the Tigers occupy 10th place in the table despite picking up just three points from a possible 15 away.
 
City have been dealt a tough itinerary with four of their five away losses at Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Tottenham, and only in the first half of their opening weekend defeat at Stamford Bridge did they look out of their depth. Two trips to White Hart Lane in the past fortnight witnessed a narrow defeat in the league and even narrower one in the League Cup, so Steve Bruce will travel south confident his troops could breach ‘Fortress St Mary’s’.
 
Southampton has never been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Tigers however. Hull have gone 12 visits without a win on the south coast since 1951, and have only ever tasted victory on three occasions since the First World War.

Team news

Southampton’s treatment room is a quiet one, with knee-knacked Guly do Prado a long-term absentee and Pablo Osvaldo nearing a return from a nerve problem.
 
City’s, meanwhile, has a queue outside the door, with Alan McGregor, James Chester, Sone Aluko, Robert Koren and Danny Graham nursing injuries. Alex Bruce could be available again following a groin injury.

Player to watch: James Ward-Prowse (So'ton)

The 19-year-old was rumoured to be on the brink of joining Bournemouth in the summer, but he hasn’t looked back since starting in the opening weekend win at West Bromwich Albion. Operating on the right of Southampton’s attacking midfield trio, the England U21 international delivered the perfect crosses for his side to equalise against Sunderland and Stoke. In the Saints’ last home outing, a 2-0 win over Fulham, he helped set up no fewer than six chances while recording 92% pass completion (68 out of 74).
 

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

  • Hull 0-2 So'ton (C'ship, Mar 12)
  • So'ton 2-1 Hull (C'ship, Nov 11)
  • Hull 5-0 So'ton (C'ship, Mar 08)
  • So'ton 4-0 Hull (C'ship, Dec 07)
  • Hull 2-4 So'ton (C'ship, Dec 06)

The managers

The uproar surrounding Nigel Adkins’ ousting from the St Mary’s hot seat in January is already a distant memory as Pochettino continues to work his magic. The team that had conceded 25 league goals this time last year now has one of the best defensive records in Europe, is playing some scintillating football and possesses several homegrown talents to boot. If only he’d speak a little English, eh?
 
Hull’s propensity to pick up points on home soil takes the pressure off having to do it on the road, but sooner or later the home form will hit the buffers and the odd away point could prove priceless.
 
Bruce will be hoping for a change in fortune, having berated the officials after their last two away trips at Spurs and Everton over the penalty that sunk them at White Hart Lane and decision not to dismiss Gareth Barry.

Facts and figures

  • Southampton have won 4 of their last 5 league games against Hull.
  • Only four sides newly promoted to the Premier League have conceded fewer goals after 10 games than Hull's 10 this season.
  • The Saints and Tigers have conceded a combined 14 goals in 20 games this season.
  • There have only been 8 goals at St Mary’s this season, although this is 3 more than there have been at Hull’s KC Stadium.
  • Southampton have conceded a league-low 29 shots on target this season.
  • Last weekend Artur Boruc joined Ben Foster, Dean Kiely, Paul Gerrard and Adam Bogdan in conceding a Premier League goal to a fellow goalkeeper.
  • The Saints are unbeaten in their last 7 games; only Arsenal (9) have been on a longer run this season.
  • Southampton have won 40 corners at home this season; only Man City (41) have a higher figure.
  • Hull supremo Steve Bruce has only tasted victory once in 9 Premier League trips to the Solent (Portsmouth & Southampton combined).
  • Hull’s record of 14 points from 10 games this season is halfway between the starts of their first season in the Premier League (20 points) and their second (8 points).
  • Southampton have scored first in 12 out of their last 19 home matches.
  • The Saints have kept clean sheets in their last 4 home games, having failed to keep one in their 8 games prior to that.
  • Since Mauricio Pochettino took over the helm, the Saints have lost just twice at home.
  • Hull have conceded first in each of their last 5 away matches; in 3 of their trips, they have been drawing at half-time before going on to lose.
  • 8 of Hull’s 10 games this season have had fewer than 3 goals.

FourFourTwo prediction

2-0 to Saints again, but it takes a late clincher from England newbie Jay Rodriguez to finally kill Hull off.

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