Hull City visit Southampton on Saturday afternoon in what is a huge game for both teams and reaching their targets for the season. After such a strong start, the Saints have at least given themselves a small chance at gaining a top four place although it would be a monumental effort if they do so. Europa League football is a realistic goal, however they will most likely be battling Liverpool and Spurs for that berth. Hull have their own battles to deal with also after being sucked into a relegation dogfight, which they probably didn’t see themselves in earlier in the season. A run of five games without a win has meant that they sit 17th, just one place above the relegation zone and only two points ahead of next places QPR, albeit with a game in hand.
The Saints should have Steven Davis and Florin Gardoș available after recovering from knocks. Filip Djuricic (ankle) and Emmanuel Mayuka (groin) are ruled out for the contest with Fraser Forster and Jay Rodriguez being long term absentees.
David Meyler will miss the first of his three game suspension due to his red card for a dangerous tackle on Kyle Naughton in the defeat to Swansea last week. Gaston Ramirez has been suffering from a knock but wouldn’t be able to play against his parent club nonetheless. Curtis Davies and Andrew Robertson are major doubts whilst Nikica Jelavic and Robert Snodgrass are set to miss the next few months with knee injuries.
- Southampton have won seven of their last eight against Hull City, including the last five.
- Saints have scored only five goals in their last nine Premier League matches.
- Hull have gone five games without a win, gaining only two points in that time.
- Hull City have failed to score in 13 of their last 23 Premier League games.
- Hull have created only 20 clear cut chances in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other team.
- Graziano Pelle has not scored in his last 14 league matches with his last Premier League goal coming in December of last year.
League Head to Heads
2014/2015 Sat 01 Nov Hull City 0 – 1 Southampton PL
2013/2014 Tue 11 Feb Hull City 0 – 1 Southampton PL
2013/2014 Sat 09 Nov Southampton 4 – 1 Hull City PL
2011/2012 Tue 20 Mar Hull City 0 – 2 Southampton C’ship
2011/2012 Tue 29 Nov Southampton 2 – 1 Hull City C’ship
Southampton: Victor Wanyama
Victor Wanyama is a player who usually does not get the praise he deserves for helping his Southampton side get to where they are in the table. The Kenyan midfielder is the rock of the midfield and is excellent at breaking up opposition attacking with 49% of his 141 attempted tackles being successful, indicating the support he offers to the back four. He has often been criticised for his technical abilities on the ball and especially his distribution but he has shown this season that his passing is very respectable with an impressive 84% of his 1275 passes being successful. He has also shown that at times he can provide an extra attacking presence with three goals this season and a superb 29 of his 31 attempted dribbles being successful.
Hull City: Abel Hernandez
After scoring on his debut near the start of the season against West Ham, many thought that Abel Hernandez would go on to score many more goals and help Hull stay out of the relegation battle. However, that has been far from the case as injuries have taken their toll on him as he has only managed four goals this season. But out of those four goals, three have been scored against sides in the top four showing that he may have a knack for scoring in the big games. The Uruguayan will probably look to improve his shot accuracy and try to at least test the keeper more as only 44% of his 39 shots have been accurate.
Southampton are in a position where any points dropped in these types of games will take them straight out of the hunt for a Champions League spot, even though it is unlikely in their current situation anyway. That being said, I think they are still strong enough to grab the three points here but it would be a huge for Hull’s survival battle if they are to gain a positive result here.
My Prediction – Southampton 2-1 Hull City