Swansea City visit the KC Stadium to face Hull City with both teams aiming to edge closer to safety with only six games of the season to go. Both teams are on 33 points and are only separated by goal difference in the Premier League table but a win for either will all but secure Premier League football for next year.
The home team go into the match in 14th place, seven points ahead of Cardiff who are in the last relegation position. Steve Bruce and his newly promoted side have enjoyed a good return to the top tier of English football and have proved that they can hold their own against some of the well-established teams in the league. Their good first half to the season has meant that even though they have only won one of their last five games, they are still in a good position to avoid relegation. Hull’s last two matches have ended in narrow defeats to both West Ham and Stoke City, but they will hope for home comforts back at the KC.
Garry Monk will be a relieved man after picking up just his second win in charge of Swansea. His team won their last match comfortably at home to Norwich with De Guzman starring in a 3-0 win. This was Swansea’s first win after six games without a victory, with Monk and his team hoping to build on the win and create some momentum going into the last few games of the season. Like Hull City, Swansea are also seven points away from the bottom three so they won’t be resting on the laurels just yet.
The teams are neck and neck in the league and the meeting between the two sides earlier in the season also finished honours even, with Danny Graham netting for Hull against his former side and Chico Flores replying for the Welsh side.
Hull are missing their first choice goalkeeper in McGregor who sustained an injury to his kidney after a collision in the defeat to West Ham. Figueroa is due back from injury but will face a late fitness test. Brady and McShane are missing with long-term injuries.
Bartley is the only player missing for The Swans, so Garry Monk has an almost full fit squad to choose from. After a very impressive showing last week against Norwich, Swansea are likely to keep the same team for this match.
- Swansea have won none of their last five league visits to play Hull City, losing four of those games.
- Swansea have benefited from eight own goals in the Premier League this season – only Wilfried Bony has scored more goals for them (11).
- The Swans have scored more goals than any other team in the bottom 12 of the Premier League.(45)
- Just 9% of Hull’s goals have come in the final 15 minutes of matches, the lowest proportion in the top flight
- Steve Bruce’s side have lost four of their last five Premier League matches (W1 L4) and won only one of the last six on home soil (W1 D1 L4).
- Despite only joining in January, Nikica Jelavic has already had more shots on target than any other Hull City player this season (17).
- Swansea have not won back-to-back Premier League games since December 2012.
Hull City: Nikica Jelavic
Steve Bruce bought very wisely in the January transfer window, acquiring two players – who were somewhat unhappy – from West Brom and Everton and partnering them up as a useful duo up front. One of those players was Nikica Jelavic, the former Rangers man who on his day can be a handful for most teams. Since moving to the KC Stadium, the Croatian international has notched up four goals, at a rate of one goal every 236 minutes. In total, Jelavic and his striker partner Shane Long have scored seven between them and at crucial times too. Jelavic isn’t the most clinical of strikers in the league, with a chance conversion rate of 11%, but has the determination to trouble defenders even after missing good chances. That attitude has enabled him strike up a great partnership with Long as both players are willing runners, something Swansea will have to be wary of in this match.
Swansea: Jonathan De Guzman
Jonathan De Guzman should be going into this match with a huge amount of confidence especially after his exceptional performance against Norwich, a match in which he doubled his goal tally for the season, scoring two brilliantly worked goals. The Dutchman has shown this season how crucial he is to Swansea’s midfield, with the ability to pass the ball accurately, creating chances and having a great tackle success rate. Starting off with his passing accuracy, De Guzman has made a total of 1623 passes, with an impressive accuracy rate of 89%. He also has the ability to contribute in a creative sense in the attacking third of the field, with a chance being created every 41 minutes. As De Guzman plays predominantly in the defensive midfield role, one of his main duties is to break up play and help win the ball back for his team, which he has done efficiently, making a total of 37 tackles with an 81% tackle succession rate. With all that being said, De Guzman could be a real handful for Hull whatever position he plays against them.
Swansea come into the game with a win and although Hull have lost their last two, their home form has been impressive so far this season, so a home win is my choice for this one.