Hull City v Arsenal: The lowdown on Steve Bruce’s Tigers
09:30 20 April 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Charlie Eccleshare casts his eye over Hull City as they prepare to host Arsenal in the Premier League this afternoon.
Hull go into this match against Arsenal at the KC Stadium buoyed by last weekend’s 5-3 FA Cup semi-final victory against Sheffield United.
Their opponents in next month’s final will, of course, be Arsenal – and today’s dress rehearsal gives both teams the opportunity to strike a psychological blow ahead of that Wembley showdown.
Steve Bruce’s side have built their success on an excellent record at home, where they have picked up 25 points – more than Manchester United – including a 3-1 win against Liverpool.
The Tigers had a solid first half of the season and were boosted by the January signings of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long from Everton and West Brom respectively.
Hull have won their last two home fixtures without conceding a goal, but in contrast have suffered two away defeats in recent weeks.
Ones to watch…
Former Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone has looked a class apart for Hull this season and his excellent delivery will pose a threat from set-pieces. The big midfielder scored at Wembley last Sunday and has four in total this season.
Striker Long has three goals for the Tigers since joining in January and is a constant headache for defenders with his tireless running and harrying. Per Mertesacker knows this only too well after being sent off for bringing down the then West Brom forward last season.
The Gunners will also need to be wary of Long’s strike partner Jelavic – the Croatian is a good finisher and will be looking to add to his season’s tally of five.
Arsenal have won all five meetings between the sides since Hull recorded a famous 2-1 victory at the Emirates in 2008.
Arsene Wenger’s side ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at home in December with goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil.
Prior to that, the sides had not met since 2009/10, when Arsenal won 3-0 at the Emirates, and a late Bendtner goal secured a 2-1 victory for the Gunners at the KC Stadium.
Arsenal have Aaron Ramsey returning to full fitness and have done well against sides in the bottom half so should just edge it – 2-1 to the Gunners.