Steve Bruce takes his Hull City side this weekend to face Newcastle United, a side who have won their last two on the bounce, and seem to have dusted off the negativity surrounding the club at the start of the season – for now.
Hull City look a hard team to beat, given their two losses have been at the hands of title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City. Their 1-0 victory at home to Norwich was important for them to kickstart their season, and their 1-1 draw last weekend with fellow promoted side Cardiff City was important for them to keep the KC Stadium a fortress of sorts.
For Newcastle, the return of Hatem Ben Arfa to the side, and the introduction of Loic Remy has seemed to have helped the midfield link to attack for Papiss Cisse, and to take the weight of the goal-scoring pressure off the striker, although he hasn’t scored in 10 games for the club.
Newcastle United will be without Shola Ameobi, Gabriel Obertan, Mike Williamson, Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor.
Hull City have no injury concerns for the trip to Newcastle.
Newcastle United and Hull City have met only 20 times over the last 102 years, with Newcastle winning (10), drawing (5) and losing (5)
The last time Newcastle United met Hull in the Premier League, was their disastrous season when they were relegated to the Championship in 2009.
Papiss Cisse has not bagged a goal in (10) games for Newcastle United, his last goal was versus Fulham in April.
Newcastle United: Hatem Ben Arfa
The French winger is integral to any success Newcastle United have this season. Ben Arfa has scored (2) Premier League goals so far this season from 14 shots, a 43% shot accuracy, 14% chance conversion and so far averaging a shot every 24 mins.
Ben Arfa is in the top 5 players for dribbles per game so far this season, alongside Andros Townsend, Ross Barkley, Nathan Redmond and Fabian Delph.
So far this season, Ben Arfa has attempted (26) dribbles, successfully completing (17) of them, creating (3) total chances. His passing rate looks healthy also, with (130) passes played, (109) of those found his target – a 84% pass rate.
Hull City: Tom Huddlestone
A fine acquistion from Hull City to buy the midfielder from Spurs this summer. He is already proving the fee paid for him by Hull City, helping Hull’s passing game tick over through his assured performances on the ball, with his creativity key for Hull City to try to stay in the Premier League this season.
Tom Huddlestone has created a total of (8) total chances created, bagging one assist – creating a chance every 38 mins.
Huddlestone’s passing stats so far this season are impressive also, attempting (183), successfully passing (146) – an 80% pass accuracy. The Hull City midfielder has played 33% of his passes forward, with just 14% of his passes played backwards.
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Hull City
I expect Newcastle United to carry on their winning run, although Hull City won’t make it easy for the Geordies.
Ben Arfa has scored first in the last two games, so it only seems fair to back the Frenchman to score first, and 6/1 is available for this market.
If you’re looking for a scorecast – Ben Arfa to score first and Newcastle United to win 2-1 is 45/1, or alternatively, Ben Arfa to score first and Newcastle to win is 8/1.
Odds: William Hill