After a weekend that was characterized by some good old FA Cup Quarter final fixtures followed by a juicy semi-final draw, the Premier League is back and what a titanic tussle we’ve got at the lower end of the table! It’s Leicester City hosting Steve Bruce’s Hull at the King Power Stadium in what is an absolute must win for both sides at this stage. Come Sunday morning, we’ll know the status quo of teams battling it out for survival meaning there’s a cracker of a game in store on Saturday, for the neutrals at least. Rock-bottom Leicester are four points adrift and seven from safety, and cannot take much solace from the fact that their game in hand is the visit of Chelsea. Although they have an otherwise comparatively friendly run in and plenty of opportunities to take points off their fellow strugglers, there is a sense that the points-parched Foxes are drinking at the last-chance saloon this weekend.
N’Doye’s strike in the 1-1 stalemate with Sunderland on March 3 ensured that Hull have only lost one of their last five matches and sent them five points clear of trouble. Victory away from home at the King Power Stadium could see the visitors climb as high as 12th in the table, although Hull may settle for a draw which would prevent them from being dragged right back into the mire and do far more for them than Leicester. Both sides have had 10 days off and could name well-refreshed, unchanged sides. That would mean Nikica Jelavic partnering N’Doye up front for the Tigers and Paul McShane continuing to keep club captain Curtis Davies out in defence.
Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal as Leicester won December’s eventful fixture between these sides, in which Paul Konchesky and Stephen Quinn both saw red.
First-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel remains Leicester’s only fitness worry and therefore Mark Schwarzer will again deputise in between the posts. Kramaric, who has two in eight for the Foxes, is expected to lead the line ahead of David Nugent and Leonardo Ulloa.
Possible starting lineup: Schwarzer; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Upson, Konchesky; Mahrez, James, Cambiasso, Schlupp; Kramaric
Injured quartet Robert Snodgrass, Liam Rosenior, James Chester and Robbie Brady remain sidelined, but Mohamed Diame is closing in on a return to fitness following a three-month absence and could be included in the squad.
Possible starting lineup: McGregor; McShane, Dawson, Bruce; Elmohamady, Livermore, Meyler, Huddlestone, Robertson; N’Doye, Jelavic.
- Leicester City have lost just one of their last seven league meetings with Hull City (W4 D2 L1).
- The Tigers have failed to score in seven of their last 10 Premier League matches on the road.
- Nigel Pearson’s side have scored just three goals in their last eight Premier League games at King Power Stadium.
- There have in fact been five red cards in the last six league meetings between the two teams.
Andrej Kramaric – Leicester City
Kramaric has been the go-to man at Leicester City after the 10 million signing put in a few good performances for the foxes, having scored two goals in his last eight appearances. The 23-year old needs to get more on the ball though with the striker averaging a very good shot accuracy of 63% (best in the side) with 6 out of 9 shots bang on goal. Kramaric has showed his neat passing ability as well with a respectable 83% accuracy but has yet to create a clear cut goal scoring chance for a fellow teammate. Having quite accustomed to the fast paced nature of the Premier League, the new signing is expected to deliver the goods for the foxes on a week in week out basis and thereby put them out of their relegation misery.
Nikica Jelavic – Hull City
With 8 goals to his name in 21 appearances, Jelavic is the top goal scorer of Hull by some distance. He’s had a good season on a personal level and is a player that can always get you get a goal if and when the service is right and adequate. Comfortable on the floor as well as in the air, Jelavic can pose more of a threat when he is paired with fellow in-form forward in N’Doye who’s scored thrice already and looks in good niche. His shot accuracy has been a bit wayward if anything with just 13 of his 37 shots (unblocked) finding the target. Having created 15 chances himself that includes a solitary assist, it could be said Hull’s survival hopes are partly pinned on Jelavic’s productivity up front alongside his new partner in crime.
I’m going for the usual, unusually. A narrow home win on the cards. To back the prediction you can create a bet via William Hill by clicking the following link(s) below.
Leicester City 2-1 Hull city