Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Prediction: Manchester United vs Hull City

Verdict: Man Utd to win to nil

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

Red-hot Manchester United play host to Hull City in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final at Old Trafford and it goes without saying that the Red Devils are strong favourites to win the first match. Sitting at the Premier League rock bottom, the Tigers have more important worries at the moment, but another impressive FA Cup result could spur on the team to get their league campaign back on track.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho had a very difficult start to his career at Old Trafford as he struggled to find the best starting XI and take his side close to Champions League positions, but we can safely say the Red Devils have turned things around. Manchester United head into the EFL Cup semi-final in excellent spirits having recorded eight straight victories on all fronts, and while they are still outside of top 4 places, a three-point gap behind fourth-placed Man City is definitely manageable. Jose Mourinho’s rotation policy has worked really well of late, as witnessed by the 4-0 triumph over Reading in the FA Cup, although we have to admit that Man Utd’s fixture list during the festive period was not as difficult as that of their Premiership rivals. The timing of the game against Hull City is also very good as the players will have five days before the high-profile clash against Liverpool on Sunday, meaning Jose Mourinho has absolutely no reason to complain about the scheduling. The Portuguese manager was able to rest a number of star players in the FA Cup at the weekend, and many of them will return for the Tuesday’s game.

Team News

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia should all be recalled, but Marcos Rojo is out with a muscle problem. Eric Bailly is away on international duty.

Hull City

If Marcos Silva’s first game in charge is anything to go by, Hull City might just be able to beat the drop, but it is clear that the Portuguese manager has his work cut out for him at KCOM Stadium. The talented tactician arrives high on confidence after a remarkable season with Olympiakos that saw him win 28 of 30 league games, but he is obviously in for a much tougher task in England. Nevertheless, Silva seems to have brought some positives as his side managed to knock Swansea City out of the FA Cup, with both Abel Hernandez and Josh Tymon coming off the bench to score late goals. The Tigers will have to opt for a different approach at Old Trafford, but knowing Silva and his preference for attack-minded football, we would not be surprised to see Hull City use every opportunity they get to try and score an away goal. The Tigers have just ended a run of five games without a goal on the road, but they have won each of their last six matches on the travels, so this is yet another cause for concern ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. To add insult to injury, Marco Silva faces serious selection worries at the back, as it was midfielders Livermore, Huddlestone and Meyler who finished the Swansea game as part of the back four.

Team News

Marco Silva is sweating over the fitness of Michael Dawson, Curtis Davies and Harry Maguire, but Abel Hernandez should start.

Alex Bruce and Moses Odubajo are long-term casualties, whereas Ahmed Elmohamady is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Man Utd won eight successive games in all competitions
  • Hull City lost last six matches on the road
  • The Tigers scored just one goal in the process
  • Man Utd won eight of last nine meetings with Hull City (D1)
  • The Tigers failed to score in last three of those games

Conclusion

Manchester United have been in excellent form of late, winning eight successive matches and keeping five clean sheets in the process. Considering that Hull scored just once in six straight away defeats, a home win to nil should be considered.

Verdict: Man Utd to win to nil

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

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