Hull City welcome the champions to the KC Stadium on Boxing Day (December 26, 2013, 4:45 AM Pacific), but Manchester United won’t be expecting any festive cheer or seasonal generosity from their former captain and Tigers manager, Steve Bruce.
Bruce has been left frustrated by his team’s last three games, where a lack of killer instinct in front of goal and a lack of concentration going into the last 5 minutes has resulted in three draws, when three victories were achievable and would have resulted in Hull being 9th in the league right now. Instead, they are 12th and just seven points clear of the drop zone. You wouldn’t expect Hull to struggle for survival this year, but then they haven’t won since taking apart Liverpool five games ago. Overall, Hull fans should be happy with what they are seeing on the pitch, just depends on whether you’re a ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy….
The wheels are in motion at Old Trafford right now and the timing could not be better. The festive period is historically when United go up a gear and put their title credentials out there, and it’s proved this way again. Perhaps there was slight disappointment at conceding a poor goal late on against West Ham, when Jack Buttner switched off during a botched offside trap resulting in Carlton Cole’s consolation, but it’s a minor blip on an otherwise impressive run of four wins. The momentum is with United right now and if their next three games provide positive results, you can be certain the top four will be looking over their shoulders.
Hull Team News
Hull have no fresh injury concerns except for Robbie Brady (groin) who may be out for 4 weeks. Huddlestone and Livermore are a decent central midfield pairing and seem to be relishing their time together while Livermore is on loan from Tottenham. Danny Graham is hardly setting the world on fire with his goal scoring prowess, but despite notching just 1 this season, he links play well and seems to be enjoying his football. Steve Bruce will look to come out of the blocks quickly in this game and try to give United a torrid first 20 minutes, not allowing them to settle.
Probable starting XI: Mcgregor, Elmohamady, Figueroa, Davies, Bruce, Chester, Livermore, Hudlestone, Meyler, Graham, Sagbo.
Manchester United Team News
The physio room at Carrington seems to be the place to be right now, with Nani the latest player to be added to Moyes’ Christmas Injury List, it’s a list that also includes Michael Carrick, Robin Van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Marouane Fellaini, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney, although Welbeck and Rooney are expected to be fit for this game. Januzaj is growing in confidence and form despite the unfortunate and slightly embarrassing diving incident last weekend, and Ashley Young must be pushing for a start after scoring two great goals in the last two games. He is playing for his future and you can tell. United will be looking to keep the ball as much as possible during the first quarter of the game and you’d expect to see Rooney in a slightly withdrawn role so as to link play.
Probable starting XI: DeGea, Rafael, Evra, Jones, Evans, Januzaj, Cleverley, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Welbeck.
Hull City vs Manchester United Prediction
For Hull to stop United here, they really are going to need their fans to forget about the farcical name change scenario that has been rumbling on, and really get behind their team. We all know it’s ridiculous that a multi-millionaire can come in from anywhere in the world, with no football background or knowledge and alter historical traditions at football clubs, but it’s not something that the Hull supporters can really do much about. What they can do, is make the KC Stadium a very uncomfortable place for Manchester United, and they will need to, because if Hull don’t get an early goal, United will pass them off the park and coast to a relatively straight forward victory. Prediction: Hull City 0 – 2 Manchester United
Hull City vs Manchester United Television
The Hull City vs Manchester United Premier League match will be televised on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 4:45 AM Pacific.
Hull City 2-3 Manchester United Highlights
The match highlights will be upload as soon as the match ends.