League leaders Chelsea host Hull City on Sunday with the Tigers finding themselves in relegation zone after a run of eight winless games that has derailed their season. Chelsea finally lost their first league game of the season against Newcastle United last weekend but are still three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table after 15 games into the season.
Steve Bruce’s side meanwhile can’t buy a win at the other end of the table and after last weekend’s disappointing goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion at home; they find themselves in real trouble with just two wins in the entire season. Saturday’s trip to London couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Tigers who are in desperate need of a win.
Cesc Fabregas is suspended for this weekend’s visit of Hull City after collecting five yellow cards though Nemanja Matic returns from his own suspension although Nathan Aké continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Summer signing Robert Snodgrass continues to recover from a dislocated kneecap and will be out until February while Mohamed Diame will be unavailable for at least another few weeks with a knee injury.
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa.
Hull City: McGregor; Dawson, Chester, Davies; Elmohamady, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Quinn S; Aluko, Jelavic.
- Chelsea have the best home record in the Premier League with seven wins out of seven.
- Chelsea have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 15 Premier League matches at the Stamford Bridge.
- Chelsea have scored the highest goals in the Premier League (34), while conceding the second fewest (13).
- Chelsea haven’t lost at home against Hull City in their previous 16 meetings, winning 13 of those.
- The last time Hull City beat Chelsea was 25 years ago, back in the old Second Division.
- Hull are without a win in 8 Premier League games and have won just once in their last 14 games in all competitions.
- Hull City have averaged the worst shot per game in the Premier League with just 9.3.
- Hull City have attempted just 1% of their shots inside the six yard box, the lowest figure in the Premier League.
11 Jan 2014 Hull City 0 – 2 Chelsea Premier League
18 Aug 2013 Chelsea 2 – 0 Hull City Premier League
02 Feb 2010 Hull City 1 – 1 Chelsea Premier League
15 Aug 2009 Chelsea 2 – 1 Hull City Premier League
07 Feb 2009 Chelsea 0 – 0 Hull City Premier League
Chelsea: Diego Costa
The Brazil-born Spaniard has been going through a draught by his own standards and hasn’t found the net in his last four games in all competitions. With Sergio Aguero out injured for at least a month, Costa has a chance to catch up on the Argentinean who leads the race for the Golden Boot by three goals. With a remarkable shot accuracy of 79% from his average of 3.3 shots per game, Costa is a lethal finisher and will be relishing his chances against 18th placed Hull City. Costa has also created 23 chances for his teammates, though is yet to register an assist. Along with services of Eden Hazard though, Costa will be looking to score a few past Allan McGregor and stretch Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table.
Hull City: Michael Dawson
The former Tottenham Hotspur man has been a rock at the back for the Tigers and one of their best players in a dismal campaign. The £3.5 million paid for the four-time capped English defender seem like a bargain with the 31 year-old fourth in the charts for the number of clearances per game with 10.4 while leading with number of blocks per games with 2.2. Of course, the weaker the team, the more the defenders will have to do, but Dawson has put his body on the line in a number of occasions, injuring himself heroically in the 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
Up against one of the most fearsome striker in the league on Saturday, he will have his work cut out and will face a rough 90 minutes. If Hull harbour any hopes of getting anything from the game, Dawson will have to have the game of his life.
Chelsea have been imperious at home this season and against a Hull side in rut, anything other than a thrashing would be a surprise. Diego Costa will be relishing the chance to return to goalscoring ways and it should be a comfortable three points for the league leaders.