The FourFourTwo Preview: Hull vs Man City
Fizzy pop vs the caterpillar.
- WBA 3-2 Hull (LC)
- Newcastle 2-2 Hull (Prem)
- Hull 2-2 West Ham (Prem)
- Villa 2-1 Hull (Prem)
- Hull 2-1 Lokeren (EL)
MAN CITY FORM
- Man City 7-0 Sheff Wed (LC)
- Man City 1-1 Chelsea (Prem)
- Bayern 1-0 Man City (CL)
- Arsenal 2-2 Man City (Prem)
- Man City 0-1 Stoke (Prem)
It's probably fair to say Manchester City haven't quite hit top gear this season (if you're not now imagining Vincent Kompany repeatedly thumping Jeremy Clarkson in the nuts, you're a bad person).
There hasn't been the same vim and vigour as last season, with Sergio Aguero not yet fully fit and firing and Yaya Toure drained by all those crap jokes about cake. There were positive signs in the draw at Arsenal, the narrow defeat at Munich and last weekend's tie with Chelsea, but not the desired results.
City (the Manchester one) will be looking to kick on at the KC Stadium, a scene of one of the most stuff-of-champions victories of their title-winning 2013/14 campaign. That mid-March afternoon saw the visitors win 2-0, despite having Kompany sent off in the 10th minute (although not for punching a badly-dressed, middle-aged gobshite with a questionable sense of humour).
For their part, City (the Hull one) have had a frustrating start to the new season, too. Having built a squad with the depth required to remain competitive in several competitions, Steve Bruce has seen his side crash out of the Europa League before the group stages, before falling at the first hurdle in the League Cup, losing 3-2 at West Brom on Wednesday evening. They also haven't won in the league since the opening day, although the only game they've lost was to the title-chasing juggernaut that was the Aston Villa of August.
Both teams could do with a good performance and three points to give their season a little more purpose.
Hull will be without long-term absentee Robert Snodgrass (knee), but otherwise have a clean bill of health. Man City have far more problems in that area, with David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Fernando and Stevan Jovetic all at various degrees of unfitness. The latter trio are ruled out.
Key battle: Nikica Jelavic vs Vincent Kompany
As previously mentioned, Kompany was dismissed early on in the last meeting between these two clubs, and Croatian striker Jelavic was the man he wrestled to the ground.
Jelavic scored a superb volley in Hull's draw at Newcastle last weekend, but he was mostly forced to drop deeper to collect the ball - usually from long punts upfield. He won just 4 of the 15 aerial duels he contested over the 90 minutes, which may be a sign of encouragment for Kompany, who has started the season well.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Hull 0-2 City (PL, Mar 14)
- City 2-0 Hull (PL, Aug 13)
- Hull 2-1 City (PL, Feb 10)
- City 1-1 Hull (PL, Nov 09)
- City 5-1 Hull (PL, Dec 08)
Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini will still be reeling from being called 'Pellegrino' by the mischievous Jose Mourinho following last weekend's 1-1 draw between City and Chelsea. As well as being the surname of former Liverpool defender and Valencia manager, Mauricio, Pellegrino is also a mountain in Sicily, a church in the Vatican City and a poncey brand of fizzy pop sold in the FFT canteen.
To FFT's knowledge, nobody has ever called Steve Bruce 'Steve Bruco'. Bruco is Italian for caterpillar, so certainly more likely than 'farfalla' (butterfly).
Facts and figures
- Frank Lampard has now scored in 18 consecutive Premier League seasons.
- City have 8 points from 5 games; the last time they had fewer was in 2006/07 (4).
- Hull’s last 2 Premier League games have ended 2-2. Only one team (Liverpool in 2002) have recorded 3 in a row.
More FFT Stats Zone facts
Bruce's boys to bite like a caterpillar - and Pellegrini's team to respond by rotting their teeth. 1-2.
Back 1-2 at 7/1 with Bet365. Odds right at time of publication