Cardiff are enjoying a renaissance under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while Tony Pulis has helped Crystal Palace to discover newfound resolve but Steve Bruce and Hull should still be backed to come out on top out of the three newly-promoted teams.
Fans may not be happy with the club’s new moniker of the Hull Tigers but after a January spent recruiting two high profile strikers, the team finally appears to have some bite in the final third.
And it’s this, coupled with the performances seen in key areas of the midfield and defence, that makes Bruce’s team the ones to back to finish highest out of the three newly promoted teams, on at 8/11 with Ladbrokes.
It comes after the signings of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long – two players with a solid track record for goals in the Premier League, something previously lacking from the Hull squad.
Signed for an undisclosed fee from Everton, Jelavic started brightly at Goodison Park with nine goals in his first 13 outings for the Toffees, before fading somewhat over the past season and a half.
While evidently lacking in confidence, the move to Hull could reinvigorate the forward, who looked lively in their 1-1 draw with Spurs and came close to scoring.
With one eye on a place in Croatia’s squad for this summer’s World Cup – where he could start in place of the suspended Mario Mandzukic – he will be desperate to impress and could prove a major asset to the Tigers’ previously toothless attack.
Hull’s haul of 23 goals in 24 games is the fourth lowest in the Premier League with Robbie Brady their current top scorer with just three.
However Bruce’s team have been defensively sound, conceding just 30 goals all year – a record superior to that of 12 teams in the top flight.
It should therefore be the case that with the additions of Long and Jelavic, Hull are sharper in front of goal and there was an evident change against Tottenham, with the ex-West Brom Irishman finding the net on his debut in a game the hosts were unlucky not to win.
Combine the ability of these forwards with the likes of Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone in midfield as well as seasoned Premier League stars like Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies in defence and the Tigers have the makings of a solid top flight outfit.
With games against Sunderland, Cardiff and an out-of-sorts Newcastle to come, a run of victories could ease relegation fears and perhaps even see the club push for a top 10 finish.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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