Last week saw the announcement of Mike Phelan as the permanent Hull City manager, unfortunately that decision didn’t look all that inspired as his first game in full charge saw his side thumped 6-1 away at Bournemouth. He will be hoping for better fortunes when he goes up against former Manchester United team mate Mark Hughes who brings his Stoke outfit to the KCom Stadium this afternoon.
After an impressive start to the season which was Hull record 7 points from their first four matches it has been a been a run of four straight defeats for The Tigers and what makes for worse reading is the fact they have shipped 17 goals during those losses. It is fair to say that Mike Phelan’s first bit of business is to plug what has become a very leaky defence.
The fixture computer hasn’t been kind to Hull as of late with defeats to Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea now consigned to the history books that said there is no legislating the defeat that they suffered on the South Coast last Saturday. Bournemouth were ruthless in attack but Hull were abysmal in defence. Those kind of performances are the ones that all see you relegated come May and Hull need to arrest this slide sooner rather than later.
This game isn’t quite did pointer territory just yet but Stoke are sitting in the bottom three and will look at this game as an opportunity to get all three points and pull their way out of the drop zone after a start to the season which has been somewhat underwhelming by their own standards.
Last week saw Stoke record their first win of the season as they picked up a home win against basement side Sunderland. Joe Allen continued his impressive run of goalscoring form for both club and country as his brace of goals was enough to make sure that Stoke would finally end their search for a first win of the campaign while Sunderland are still looking for theirs.
After a start to a campaign which was Stoke have their own defensive issues it’s fair to say that those have now been addressed as they have only conceeded 2 goals in their last 3 matches and also picked up an impressive point at Old Trafford before the international break. You don’t want to make individual players a scapegoat but it’s no real surprise that they have stopped shipping goals since Shay Given was dropped to the bench.
Can Stoke continue their unbeaten run this afternoon? I have a feeling they will but I think Hull will be looking to end an unwelcome run of their own as defeat today would mean 5 defeats on the spin for The Tigers. I reckon this one will be a draw as two of Fergie’s disciples play out a share of the points. Honours even for me.