These two teams head into this game separated by just three positions in the league but a whopping 10 points sit between them, with the Magpies sitting on 40 points compared to Hull City’s 30. Both teams won their last game with Hull City battering Cardiff 4-0 in Wales and Newcastle scoring a late winner against Aston Villa to win 1-0 in the North-East. With regard to long-term form, both teams are struggling with results, as both sides have secured just three wins in their last ten Premier League games. Both sides will be desperate for a win here, but Newcastle will find it difficult to break down a stubborn Hull City rearguard which has operated at a high level at the KC Stadium.
Steve Bruce currently has six injuries to contend with but four of those injuries should be cleared up by the time Newcastle visit the KC. Star man, and my key man for the clash, Tom Huddlestone, centre back Alex Bruce and Liam Rosenior should all be fit for the game after suffering slight knocks in recent weeks. Dudgeon should also be back in contention after overcoming a recent knee injury. Brady and McShane are the the other two injury worries and both should be missing for this weekend with groin and ankle injuries respectively.
Alan Pardew should have Hatem Ben Arfa and Gael Bigirimana back after both suffered knocks in recent weeks. Full back Davide Santon should be back for the following game but he will miss the Hull City match with a knee injury. Obertan and Ryan Taylor are Pardew’s only long term injuries with knee and ACL injuries respectively.
Hull City currently have five different players on 100% tackle win rates this season with Aluko, Graham, McLean, Jelavic and Fryatt all contributing. Aluko is by far the best in this regard with seven tackles won from seven tackles attempted.
Elmohamady is Hull’s best player when it comes to ground duels. The Egyptian full back has won 106 out of the 188 ground duels he’s been involved in.
Hull City have been much better defensively than Newcastle. The Tigers have conceded just 31 goals this season compared to the Magpies’ 38.
However, Newcastle have been much better going forward. Pardew’s side have created 35 clear-cut chances this term compared to Hull’s 19.
But the Tyneside club could be better in front of goal as Hull have registered higher figures for both chance conversion and clear-cut chance conversion percentages – 10% vs 13% and 32% vs 38% respectively.
Huddlestone has completed a decent career turnaround since his move to Hull City in the summer and the powerful midfielder has gained many admirers with his passing and tackling abilities. Indeed, the former Spurs man is enjoying a very good season with the central midfielder making just one defensive error all season, despite playing in a defensive kind of position. That means the England man makes a defensive error just once in every 2,342 minutes of Premier League football – a fantastic effort. Not only is Huddlestone good positionally but he’s also good in the tackle – the big man currently holds a 67.61% tackle success rate with a tackle completed every 33 minutes, on average. In terms of regaining possession, Huddlestone continues to excel as he’s won the ball back 119 times in the middle third of the pitch alone; in terms of the whole pitch, he wins the ball back every 11 minutes. However, he could do with sharpening his shooting boots as he’s only bagged two league goals this season, as well as a 0% clear-cut chance conversion rate.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a very productive season so far and has bagged a very competitive 12 goals, which puts him joint sixth in the Premier League top goalscorers chart – alongside Eden Hazard. His 12 league goals can be explained in the way he is currently hitting the target a lot – around 50% of Remy’s shots hit the target, which is very good. Remy seems to be hitting form at just the right time with two goals in his last three league games – including the winner in Newcastle’s last game against Aston Villa. To compound his recent form, Remy also created a clear-cut chance in the Aston Villa match. Newcastle will be hoping the controversial striker can hit a few more goals between now and May as Newcastle hang onto the coattails of Everton and Manchester United.
I don’t think Newcastle will have enough to break down this Hull City rearguard so I’m going to go for some sort of draw. I think it’ll be 1-1 but I also think a 0-0 could be on the cards, with Newcastle struggling for goals of late.