On November 23rd, Crystal Palace travel up to the KC Stadium to take on Hull City. This is a battle of two promoted teams who have fared very differently this season. Palace have fared poorly in their return to the Premier League taking only four points from their first 11 games. Hull have done quite well in their return with 14 points through 11 games and are unbeaten at home this season.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to some of their important players at the moment. Hull will be missing Sone Aluko and James Chester with long term injuries. Hull will also be missing Stephen Quinn who re-aggravated a hamstring on international duty with the Republic of Ireland. Hull will get a fitness boost with Allan McGregor looking likely to return in goal. Hull are also hopeful leading goalscorer and penalty taker, Robbie Brady, will return from injury.
Palace also have some fitness problems going into this match up. Palace will be missing Adlene Guedioura, Jack Hunt, Paddy McCarthy, and Glenn Murray all through long term injuries. Palace’s Jonathan Williams is a question mark whether he will be able to make his return from a long term ankle injury. Jerome Thomas will also be a question mark after picking up a groin injury.
This is the first time Hull and Crystal Palace have ever played each other, in the Premier League. Since the formation of the Premier League, Crystal Palace have been finished in the relegation zone in all of their Premier League seasons. This is only Hull’s third ever season in the top division of English football. Last season this fixture was played in the Championship and it ended in a 0-0 draw. The reverse fixture at Selhurst Park ended 4-2 with Kevin Phillips bagging a hat trick. All time the teams have played at Hull nine times with three wins and three draws for each side. The last 10 times these two teams have matched up there have been three 0-0 and the teams combined to score more than three goals only twice.
Tom Huddlestone could be a key for Hull in this early season six pointer. Huddlestone has been Hull’s most creative player this season creating 23 chances. Huddlestone has added some quality to the newly promoted boys at Hull, especially when it has come to set pieces. Huddlestone has created 11 chances from set pieces with one of those being put in the back of the net. Huddlestone has created more chances than any other player, outside of Jake Livermore, in the entire Hull side. Huddlestone has made a chance every 40 minutes. Huddlestone has also been a force in the middle third of the field intercepting the ball 44 times this season, more than any other Hull player. What Huddlestone will need to improve the quality of the chances he creates. While he has done well creating 23 chances, Huddlestone has only created one clear cut chance this season. If Huddlestone can start creating great chances instead of good chances then it will give Hull a big advantage for the entire season and will improve their chances of staying up.
Summer signing Maroune Chamakh has not been bagging goals left and right for Palace but, Chamakh may still be able to make an impact in this game. While it may not be what he was necessarily brought in to do, Chamakh has created more chances than any other player on Palace. Chamakh has created 13 chances this season making him one of only two players to create 10 chances or more in the entire Palace team. While Chamakh has created chances, he is yet to have an assist this season. This may come down to either the lack of quality finishers up front or the fact that he is yet to create a clear cut chance for a teammate this season. Chamakh will have to start taking chances he gets and try to put the ball into the back of the net like most strikers do. Chamakh’s biggest problem is he needs to actually shoot more often. Chamakh has only taken three shots in 770 minutes of football this season which, for a striker, is absolutely atrocious. To put it in perspective, Palace center back Damian Delaney has had as many shots as their striker. That is a problem for Palace and Chamakh looks short of confidence at times. Chamakh just needs to have a few shots and get some confidence to help Palace dig themselves out of this hole and try to stay up.
While Palace have looked better since they parted ways with Ian Holloway, Palace will have a very tough day up at the KC Stadium. Hull have been very good at home this season, registering three wins and two draws, and, to compound that, Palace have lost all five of their away games this season. Hull have been the best of the newly promoted sides early on and will know, while Palace has not been good this season, that this is a big six pointer and, as the home team, will have the impetus to attack. Hull have made their home a fortress and it’s tough to see anyone other than Hull taking anything from this game.
Prediction 1-0 Hull