Hull manager's record against Blues is appalling with just two wins from 16 matches
Steve Bruce brings his Hull side to L4 this weekend with the Tigers sitting just one point and one place behind the Toffees in what will be our first look at one of the promoted sides at Goodison this season.
Bruce has a track record of leading unfashionable sides such as Wigan, Birmingham and Sunderland to respectable mid table finishes in the top flight – an achievement which has matured in the context of where those clubs currently find themselves. His record against us however is appalling with just two wins from 16 matches.
If we know anything of the barrel chested Bruce’s teams it’ll be that they will rock up and be hard to beat, play deep in a narrow 4-4-2 when we have the ball and expand with width when they have it.
Defence is where Hull’s key strength lies with Curtis Davies marshalling a back four which has not conceded a goal in its last three games. They are an industrious side too, as you’d expect I’d guess, and figure in the top 7 sides in the league for fouls, tackles and interceptions on the road, so they are belligerent travellers not lacking in gumption.
In midfield, Tom Huddlestone’s long range capability in particular will be the starting point of Hull servicing the flanks to start attacks. They will look to get at us predominantly down the right side with Egyptian wide player Elmohamady a prolific crosser.
Despite being in the middle of the table there are plenty of Hull weak points to expose.
Looking at the data, their average possession of 42% is the second lowest in the league and you would expect us to have plenty of the ball in their half. Going forward, they are really short of goals from open play with 4 of their 6 goals so far coming from set plays and half of these coming from ex Man United academy player Robbie Brady who potentially misses the game through injury.
Ahead of him, the strike duo of Aluko and Graham looks more than a tad impotent.
The most prolific period of Aluko’s career has been north of the border in the SPL and so far he has looked far from convincing at this level. At least he has one goal though, which is more than you can say about his strike partner Danny Graham, who has gone over 25 hours without scoring a goal in top flight football.
In summary, Hull will look to keep things tight, restrict space and frustrate us. They aren’t as solid a defensive operation as, say a West Brom, and we should get at least one goal. Given that I don’t see Hull scoring it’s hard to see past a three point haul for the Toffees.