West Bromwich Albion will hope to lift themselves further away from the relegation zone and above Hull City in the league table when they travel to the KC Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Hull lost a difficult game at home to Manchester City last week and find themselves only five points above Sunderland in the bottom three, who have two games in hand over them. Tempers flared in last week’s match and Hull have lost George Boyd to a three game suspension for spitting on Joe Hart.
At West Brom meanwhile, Pepe Mel and his players will undoubtedly be more confident going into this game after their win over Swansea City last weekend. However, they are still trying to shake the frustration left by Nicolas Anelka’s acrimonious departure and playing away to Hull will be no easy task for them.
As mentioned before, George Boyd will be unavailable for this game having picked up a three match suspension for his actions last week. Steve Bruce will also be unable to call on Robbie Brady, Paul McShane and Joe Dudgeon, who are all out for the foreseeable future due to injury.
West Brom have several players unavailable due to injury. Morgan Amalfitano is out, while Chris Brunt and Diego Lugano are also absent for the next few weeks at least. Claudio Yacob could return to action for the team this weekend but it may yet be too soon for him.
- Hull have not won any of their last six league games at home to West Brom.
- In just eight appearances for Hull, Nikica Jelavic has already attempted more shots at goal (34) than any other player.
- Hull have seen more opponents sent off (6) than any other team in the league this season.
- West Brom have won three and drawn the other of their last four games away to Hull.
- Their win against Swansea ended a run of 10 away games without victory.
- Substitutes have scored four of West Brom’s last six goals.
Huddlestone has been one of Hull’s better players this season and has had some good performances in the middle of the pitch. He has been accurate with 79% of his passes in open play so far this year and when you look at this particular aspect of his game, you see that he is more likely to move the ball forwards. He has played 33% of his passes forwards compared to just 11% that go backwards. This is reflected in the amount of passes he has attempted in the attacking zone of the pitch with 912. However, he has only been accurate with 612 of these passes, which is only two more than he has completed in the defensive zone the pitch. This means that he only has a pass accuracy of 64% in the attacking area compared to 90% in the defensive area of the pitch. The former Tottenham midfielder has made somewhat of an impact up front, creating 48 chances for his team, which amounts to one every 53 minutes. However, only two of these have resulted in assists. Huddlestone can have an impact on how a game finishes and so West Brom will have to watch him carefully on Saturday.
Anichebe has played 18 times up front for West Brom this season but only nine of these have been from the start. However, this does not excuse his fairly bad goal return of just three all year. He has only attempted 23 shots at goal with 10 of being on target, meaning he has a shooting accuracy of 43%. From this, we are able to work out that the former Everton striker is only attempting a shot every 42 minutes on average, however, this is perhaps reflective of the team’s troubles in front of goal this season. He hasn’t been very lucky with chances that have come his way either, converting just 13% of them. He has managed to create 22 chances for his team mates, however, and three of these have resulted in assists, which is one more than Huddlestone despite having significantly less playing time. We all know the problems that West Brom have suffered this year. The managerial changes combined with player indiscretions have led to difficult times for the club, but Anichebe has to stand up and take the responsibility of converting the team’s chances if they are to stay in the Premier League and he can start doing this against Hull.
Both Hull and West Brom need a win in this game. The home side certainly have the better league position but remain uncomfortably close to the bottom three. West Brom are living even more dangerously and will know that they have to build on their win at Swansea if they are to save their season. That being said, I believe that Hull have more about them and that it will result in a 1-0 victory for the home side.