Both sides come into the match off the back of 3-2 scorelines in their last league matches, but they were both on different sides of the result. Hull were certainly impressive against Newcastle as they managed to shock their hosts and take three points away from the North East which would have made former Sunderland manager and Geordie Steve Bruce very happy. On the other hand West Ham were turned over by an unbeaten Everton side after conceding two goals with ten men as Mark Noble was sent off for two bookable offences.
Hull currently sit four places above their opponents after an impressive start to their first season back in the English top flight. The side managed by Bruce have 7 points with their two losses coming against Chelsea and Manchester City, who are two sides expected to compete for the title. West Ham have had a poor start to the season picking up only 5 points so far. They have drawn their only two away matches so far, so Saturday’s match may not be as entertaining for supporters as they would hope.
The home side had a routine 1-0 victory on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup as they overcame Huddersfield at the KC stadium. Squad player Nick Proschwitz scored the winner for the Premier League club as they made it through to the fourth round of the competition. A feat also achieved by West Ham who came out on the right side of a 3-2 scoreline against fellow Premier League club Cardiff with Ravel Morrison, Matt Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te grabbing the goals for Sam Allardyce’s men.
The last time this fixture was played was in the Championship two seasons ago and West Ham ran out winners that day by a 2-0 scoreline. Sam Baldock and Jack Collison scored the goals in that match. Both teams will line up very differently this weekend than they did two years ago. Interestingly Hull had 14 shots on target on that occasion while the visitors managed only two.
West Ham have only managed to get 8 shots on target in their first five games which goes some way to explaining their goal tally of only 4 goals. This may be due to the injuries to Andy Carroll and the lack of a decent striker as back up.
Hull haven’t conceded more than two goals in a single game despite travelling to Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium, however they have conceded twice in three league games out of five.
Robbie Brady was absolutely brilliant against Newcastle getting one assist and scoring one himself. He will be one of Hull’s more creative outlets as the season progresses and this has been evident in his early matches for the club. He has created 7 chances, one every 57 minutes. This is a good start to his Premier League career, especially given that Hull have played Chelsea and Man City away so his chances would have been limited there. I expect the minutes per chances created will drop in the coming weeks as he continues to get used to the league. The former Manchester United player will be pivotal in this match as Hull try and break down a well drilled West Ham back four who have yet to concede away from home this season.
Morrison is finally starting to develop into the player that everybody thought he could be since his excellent performances in the Manchester United youth set up. He has been given a huge role in the West Ham team in recent weeks as Allardyce is changing the style of play ever so slightly to create a bigger role for the midfield. His passing accuracy from open play (85%) is impressive considering the Hammers prefer to play a long ball game. Morrison in particular has been allowed to get on the ball in the final third and try to breakthrough opposition defences. He has also started to score in the first team as he netted against Everton and Cardiff in the London club’s last two matches. In a side that is lacking goals without Andy Carroll, the young Englishman could be one of the biggest goal threats until the Geordie returns.
Hull are likely to be without James Chester, Paul McShane, Maynor Figueroa and Robert Koren for this match. Brady should overcome his stomach knock to start the match. Egyptian striker Gedo could also make his first appearance since returning to the club. Danny Graham could be dropped for Yannick Sagbo as he continues his long standing goal drought. The man on loan from Sunderland hasn’t scored a league goal since January 1st.
West Ham will be missing Andy Carroll, Guy Demel and Alou Diarra for Saturday’s match. Stewart Downing and Joe Cole could feature after missing the team’s recent matches. Allardyce still has a big issue up front as he tries to plug the hole that Andy Carroll has left. Modibo Maiga has failed to impress in the opening five matches of the season, but the only other alternatives are Mladen Petric and Carlton Cole, neither of which offer a big goal threat.
Hull have had a great start to the season and this home match offers them the chance to move into double figures in the points column. This game won’t be easy as West Ham will be keen to get another victory on the board after their stuttering start this year. I think there will be a lack of goals in this game as neither team have scored at will in the first five games. I can’t pick a winner in this match. I think it will be another 0-0 on the road for West Ham.