Following a weekend that saw several of the Premier League’s relegation candidates record crucial victories, Hull boss Steve Bruce will be keen to ensure his side do not get dragged in ahead of the busy Christmas period.
The Tigers lie in 13th place, just one point behind Monday night’s opponents Swansea, but only four points from the bottom three.
After a season that saw them claim a top ten place and finish as League Cup champions, Swansea’s ambitions this year are rather more than simply avoiding the drop.
It’s why manager Michael Laudrup is after some much-needed consistency, with their impressive midweek win over Newcastle a microcosm of their season so far given that it immediately followed a 3-0 defeat.The Swans are yet to manage back-to-back wins this season and will seek to do just that when they welcome Hull.
Swansea are 3/4 favourites to beat Hull at the Liberty Stadium, a ground they’ve experienced success on just twice this term.
Their win over Newcastle was particularly surprising given that it was achieved without last year’s top marksman Michu and this season’s top scorer Bony.
The good news for Swansea is that both players trained on Sunday and should return to Monday’s match day squad. Michu (4/1 to score first) is the man likely to the place at the front of Swansea’s attacking quartert of Hernandez, Dyer and Wednesday’s man of the match, Jonjo Shelvey.
Michu has struggled to replicate the same incredible form as in his debut Premier League season, but the addition of Bony (9/2) has relieved some of the goalscoring pressure on the Spaniard, with the Ivorian’s four league goals meaning he has scored more than Hull’s strikeforce put together.
And therein lies Steve Bruce’s problem. Hull have managed only 12 goals all season, and while their defensive stability at the KC Stadium (having conceded only three goals at home, a record only Arsenal can beat) has meant that their lack of potency in front of goal hasn’t prevented them sneaking out positive results, that has not been the case on the road.
They’ve scored in just three of their seven away games, and their remarkable 3-2 at Newcastle remains not only their sole away win, but their only source of points away from Humberside.
Should he start, former Swan Danny Graham might be worth a punt at 9/1 to score first on the basis of football’s own version of Murphy’s Law, but in truth Swansea should be confident of keeping their fourth clean sheet of the season against a blunt Hull attack, at 13/10.
With Hull not able to count history on their side either, with just one win in their last 14 visits to south Wales, the home win to nil looks another good bet at 9/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.