High flying Southampton travel to the KC Stadium on Saturday to take on a resurgent Hull side, who haven’t lost in their last 3 league encounters, including hugely impressive draws against two of last season’s top four, Arsenal and Liverpool. However, Ronald Koeman’s Saints have had an unbelievable campaign so far, sitting second in the table, and they’ll be looking to register a third straight win here to keep their momentum going into a tough stretch of fixtures that sees them face Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in their next 5 fixtures.
Goal-line technology awarded Jose Fonte the only goal of a hard fought 1-0 win for the Saints here the last time these two teams met in Feb 2014.
Hull City will be without the services of Michael Dawson and Steve Harper, while Andrew Robertson and Allan McGregor could potentially return for the trip. Sadio Mane is a doubt for the Saints, in addition to long-term absentees Sam Gallagher, jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse.
Graziano Pelle has now scored 9 goals in his last 10 games for Southampton.
The season so far represents the Saint’s best start to a top-flight campaign in the last 26 years. In their last 11 matches, Southampton have won ten and lost one, scoring 31 and conceding just 8 goals.
The two teams first met in the FA Cup in February 1915.
Head-to-head: HUL:14 SOU:20 D:21
Hull City – Hatem Ben Arfa
The attacking midfielder on loan from Newcastle has started the last two games for the Tigers, and will be hoping to carry his impressive form from the Liverpool game into this crucial match. His link up play with Abel Hernandez could be crucial to Steve Bruce’s side if they hope to create chances against a robust Southampton midfield containing an explosive Steven Davis; his movement and technique to exploit the space between the midfield and defensive lines, as well as his central battle with Morgan Schneiderlin will largely dictate how this game will play out against a Southampton side that have only conceded 5 goals in their opening 9 games (the lowest of the league). His partnership with Abel Hernandez is showing signs of promise, and it’ll be interesting to see how he attempts to break down Southampton’s resolute centre back pairing of Jose Fonte and Toby Alderweireld.
Southampton – Dusan Tadic
Dusan Tadic’s imperious performances have not gone unnoticed recently, but it’s fair to say his partner up front Graziano Pelle is stealing all the headlines at the moment with his fantastic goalscoring record. However, Tadic’s presence in Ronald Koeman’s fluid front three is a big part of Southampton’s attacking intensity, and the 25-year old Serbian from FC Twente has settled in extremely well to the rigors of the Premier League. He notched up four assists in the Saints 8-0 hammering of a hapless Sunderland, only the 6th player to do so in a single game ( Bergkamp, Reyes, Fabregas, Adebayor, & Cazorla were the other 5 – and no, Adebayor’s haul came in a Tottenham shirt). The Saints boss will be hoping Tadic’s link-up play with Long and fellow Eridivisie import Pelle will be enough to see them through against a resolute Hull side.
Projected Starting XIs
Hull City: 3-5-2: Jakupovic – Chester,Bruce,Davies – Elmohamady,Diame,Livermore,Huddlestone,Brady – Ben Arfa,Hernandez
Southampton: 4-3-3: Forster – Clyne,Alderweireld,Fonte,Bertrand –Schneiderlin,Davis,Cork – Tadic,Pelle,Long.
Seems like anything that falls at the feet of Graziano Pelle ends up in the net right now. Fancy Dusan Tadic to help him get his 7th of the campaign?. Take a punt on Tadic getting an assist @3.86
Both sides go into this game in good, solid form; expect a cracking game that ends with honors even.
Hull City 1-1 Southampton