Written by @Wayde_D for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Hull City vs Manchester United | Thursday 26 December | KC Stadium | 14:45
The festive term is on, as all twenty clubs get set for the season’s busiest period. While other leagues around Europe shut down for Christmas, the English Premier League gives us the gift of four rounds of matches in just twelve days. Squads will be stretched, fatigue will kick in and there are some cracking contests in store. An intriguing lunch time kick-off starts the proceedings, with promoted side Hull City hosting Premier League champions Manchester United, who seem to be slowly getting their groove back under new manager David Moyes.
To Win (90mins)
Hull City 51/10
Manchester United 6/10
Hull City made it three draws in a row as they drew 1-1 away to West Brom on Saturday. The Tigers lie in a decent twelfth position, just eight points behind the champions with a chance to cut that down to five. Before Hull’s match with West Brom, most of the Tigers’ fans would have probably taken a point. But, as they filed out of The Hawthorns in their droves after the match, there was more than a little sense of disappointment in the air. Hull’s performance, particularly in the first half, was symptomatic of a team that is in no danger of going down. They played with confidence, resilience and, above all, quality that you’d expect to see from a side that had played in this division for ten years. Surprisingly, Hull have the best home defensive record in the league, conceding just three times this season. They have scored just seven goals at the KC Stadium but their defensive performances have allowed them to lose only one home match, winning four and drawing three. Winger Robbie Brady could give the Tigers a boost by returning to face his old club. The Irishman had been the Tigers' player of the season after turning in some fine performances, until a hernia and groin injury saw him sidelined.. Tottenham loanee Jake Livermore is fast becoming the first name on the teamsheet in his ambition to prove himself as a complete midfielder. He can tackle, he can pass and, as he showed so calmly when slotting the ball past Ben Foster, he can finish as well.
It finally feels like the real Manchester United have shown up. David Moyes' men have threatened to kick-start their campaign a couple of times this season, only to fall flat and drop points. On Saturday afternoon, United disposed of West Ham in classic fashion, with an attacking display that befits a home appearance at Old Trafford. Against Newcastle a few weeks ago, the team appeared to have failed Moyes, unable to execute his tactics, and performing with no passion. This performance was the total opposite. United played without fear, and the crowd responded with confident support. The three goals that the Red Devils scored on the day could easily have been more, but this was a victory that will give Moyes heart for the season ahead. Danny Welbeck added to his two goals from last weekend's 3-0 victory at Aston Villa. Young winger Januzaj, a rare bright spot in a difficult season for United after Moyes took over as manager from Alex Ferguson, then grabbed his first Old Trafford goal. After the break Ashley Young defied his critics by blasting home another cracker before West Ham netted a consolation goal.
VERDICT: Manchester United 6/10
Together with Arsenal and Liverpool, Manchester United have scored the most goals on the road in the league, seventeen. Hull have managed less than half of that at home and have scored fourteen goals in total this season, compared to United’s 28, while both have conceded a total of twenty in their seventeen league matches. When Hull were promoted to the Premier League in the 2008/09 season, United disposed of them in all four meetings, until they were relegated after two seasons in the top flight. With United in flying form they are tipped to record another valuable three points.
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