Manchester City play host to Steve Bruce’s Hull City side at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon. The match will a side with true title ambitons face off against a side 2 points from the foot of a table with a real uphill battle in front of them to avoid relegation. The two sides surprisingly enter the fixture with little difference in form, but body language and approach to recent performances says a lot and the home side will head into this one believing they can do a lot of damage to their visitors from Humberside. Anything can happen in the Premier league and if there could ever be a catalyst for a change in fortunes for a struggling club it would be a positive result at the home of the champions and that will be what Steve Bruce will be looking for on Saturday. Pellegrini and his side put up a good performance at Stamford Bridge but after not closing the gap on the league leader they will want to get back to winning ways immediately and will see the visit of Hull as the prime opportunity to lay down a marker and send a message to Chelsea that they are going to be right behind them to end.
Ivory Coast reaching the final of AFCON after a 3-1 victory over Algeria means that the home fans are still waiting to see the debut of January signing Wilfried Bony, the side will also continue to miss the influence of midfielder Yaya Toure as their country seeks AFCON glory. Pellegrini look set to continue without both Samir Nasri and summer signing Eliaquim Mangala who are both struggling with injuries.
Hull City’s injury woes have lessened in recent weeks after they were able to field their two strikers Jelavic and Hernandez against Newcastle last week. However, it is not all good news for Steve Bruce as he will continue to be without Liam Rosenior and James Chester. While Mohammed Diame continues to remain on the injury list next to long term absentee Robert Snodgrass who was sidelined so quickly after completing his big money move to the KC
- Last time the two sides met at the Etihad Man City ran out 2-0 winners
- Hull City are yet to win a Premier League game at the Etihad
- Edin Dzeko has scored the most goals in the fixture, netting 3 times against the away side
- We have to go back to February 2010 for the last time Hull City beat Man City. Hull won 1-0 at the KC stadium that day
- In the history of the fixture Hull City have never recorded a victory over Man City in Manchester in 9 attempts
- Even with the difference between the two sides in the league table, neither side have managed to pick up in a win their last 3 Premier League fixtures
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
Man City’s superstar striker is yet to find the net since returning from injury, no doubt he will see the visit of Hull as an opportunity to remedy that. Hull have managed to concede 6 goals in their last 2 matches as confidence begins to dwindle for the side, that’s the kind of form that will have the Argentine forward licking his lips with anticipation. With 14 goals to his name this season before he got injured during December Aguero will be looking to make up for lost ground. He has fell behind to Diego Costa in the goal scoring charts and while he will want to drive his team up to the top of the table he will no doubt want to topple the former Atletico man as the chief goal scorer in the Premier League. With Yaya Toure still away David Silva picked up a lot of the workload while Aguero was injured, a game like this is the perfect time for Aguero to take some of that load back on his shoulder and really put a side bereft of confidence to the sword and get his goal scoring form back on an upward trajectory
Hull City: Nikica Jelavic
Hull City right now are a club in danger of going into free-fall. At a time like this the manager and fans will look to their key players to start showing their worth. Nikica Jelavic is a player the Hull faithful should be able to look at it in this situation. The former Ranger’s striker is the clubs top goal scorer this season, the worrying thing is he has only found the net 6 times. With only 10 league goals in a year and a half his form has not been what the club was expecting when they shelled out the money they did to take him from Everton. With the defence struggling and the side in need of a lift the time is now for the Croatian forward to show his worth and give the Humberside club something to believe in. His physical presence should be enough to hassle the Man City defence in mistakes and he has the ability there to put the ball past most keepers in the game. A goal against Man City at the Etihad could not only be what Jelavic needs to lift his confidence but the whole club in general as look to ready themselves for a fight for Premier League survival. A big performance from their top score on Saturday could go a long way to how Hull complete the rest of their season
Although the form of the two sides in recent weeks is relatively similar, both sides have only managed 2 wins in their last 6 Premier League fixtures, it is extremely hard to see anything but home win in this one. Hull and Steve Bruce have been unfortunate this season with injuries continually stalling his ability to find his best 11 after spending big in the summer on various talents. But, watching his side in recent weeks its plain to see that confidence is low, each game they start with good intentions and look a side that can cause problems only to concede the first goal and have the wind taken out of them. Manchester City put up a good showing at Stamford Bridge last week but will be disappointed not to pick up 3 points leaving the gap between them and Mourinho’s side at 5 points. The home side will be a team on a mission now, after only picking up a draw between the matches against Arsenal and Chelsea they will need to pick up a good run of wins if they want to threaten Chelsea’s title charge and Hull could be lambs to slaughter should the champion’s turn up like they can. Visiting the home of the champions when you are low on confidence is never a good thing and unless Steve Bruce can conjure up something miraculous this could be the game that really sends Hull into free-fall at the bottom of the league. This might not just be a win for City is could be an emphatic one