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EPL: Hull City v Leicester City Preview
We preview defending champions Leicester City's opening game of the 2017/17 English Premier League season against Hull City.
Leicester City’s herculean efforts last season seem to have almost disappeared into the ether already. Despite losing the indefatigable efforts of N’Golo Kante, Ranieri has strengthened his squad while retaining the services of Mahrez and Vardy.
It will be interesting to see how they adjust their expectations. Hull City are a club in a state of some turmoil. Steve Bruce seemingly inexplicably left the club, despite many fans considering their greatest all-time manager. A fall-out with Ehay Allam has left Mike Phelan in charge of a group that is cooking exceedingly ragtag. So this should be a fascinating test of how exactly Leicester wear that Champions title.
Hull City v Leicester City | Saturday 13 July | KC Stadium | 13:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Hull 29/10 | Draw 9/4 | Leicester 1/1
A fall-out with the top brass has really left Hull in an uphill battle to survive this season. They also only currently have thirteen fully fit players at the moment as an injury crisis has augmented their managerial issues.
One of their major issues, when you look at the composition of their squad, is how mysteriously similar it is to the one that got relegated two years back. You can go on all you want about continuity, but there does seem to be a sense of déjà vu and lack of dynamism in this side.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Abel Hernandez scored 21 goals last season and looks to be developing into a fine striker. Additionally, Robert Snodgrass was recovering from a horror injury in his last season in the Premier League and will bring his dead-ball virtuosity to proceedings. Huddleston and Livermore are quietly elegant in midfield while Elmohammandy gives them some pace on the right.
But this side is just asking to be picked apart by Leicester. Vardy will be licking his lips at the prospect of running at Dawson and Davies. Mahrez will keep Robertson deep in the pocket while Morgan and Huth will feel confident in containing Hernandez.
The Champions' main goal will be to prove that what happened last season was not some freakish aberration. I feel that they will be targeting a top four finish at the very least. If they manage to achieve this, considering the added distraction of competing in the Champions League, one would think that would appease even the most ardent Foxes fan.
Kante’s loss has been tempered by the acquisition of Mendy, while Musa is a tremendous prospect for the Foxes. The former CSKA Moscow striker scored two sensational goals in pre-season against Barcelona, and I’m sure that Ranieri will unleash him at some point in the encounter.
I’m fairly certain that Ranieri will want to release record signing Musa off the bench. His sensational speed will overwhelm a flagging Hull side midway through the second half. Kante’s importance to the side cannot be overstated. They did, however, manage to hold onto two of their prized assets, which looked unlikely with Vardy at the Euros and Mahrez openly courted by Arsenal.
I just think that Leicester have too much for Hull. The Tigers ar,e in a state of disarray while Leicester have manoeuvred ingeniously in the transfer window.
Verdict: Leicester 1/1
I would like to go for the halftime-fulltime but perhaps Hull will hold out till the hour mark. I would say the introduction of Musa could be the catalyst.
Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net