Manchester United face Hull City for the fourth time this season, with the Red Devils still smarting from a 2-1 loss to the Tigers in the League Cup, just six days before their Premier League showdown
However, United are still firm favourites to topple a Hull City side that is reeling from transfers out and injury woes. The Tigers have seen arguably their best player this season in Robert Snodgrass leave for West Ham United, and will hope that they can manage to recover from the loss.
New manager Marco Silva knows he has a huge task on his hands. He will be hoping to get the better of one of the iconic managers of this generation, and also one of his vocal supporters, Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese on his part will hope United can grab all three points as they continue to try and break into the top four, which used to be a guarantee for them in the past. On the other hand, Hull are involved in a relegation battle and could do with anything right about now.
Team news and Tactics
The Red Devils have no major injury concerns heading into the game, despite a tight schedule that has seen them play two of the three games they have scheduled in one week. The game against Hull City will see many first team regulars return, after Mourinho gave the fringe players a chance against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup.
Regardless of the personnel, the attacking style of play that the Portuguese has implemented will be causing all sorts of problems for Hull. The central midfield duo of Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick will look to dominate the middle of the park, while the attacking quartet work their magic.
The marauding right-back Antonio Valencia remains an integral part of the attack as well, bombing down the right wing. The left-back position is up for grabs though, with none of the specialists making the spot their own.
Expect United to hold a high line, dominate possession, create direct and aerial opportunities and dominate Hull.
Probable Starting XI:- De Gea; Valenica, Jones, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Carrick; Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan; Zlatan
The main aim for the Tigers will be to contain Manchester United. Had they not lost to Fulham in the FA Cup this weekend, they would have been buoyed by the excellent display against United in the League Cup.
However, Marco Silva has his task cut out for him as he takes his boys to play at Old Trafford. Hull City will most probably field a 4-1-4-1 formation, with one midfielder permanently shielding the defence and two others also tracking back to help out.
The loss of Snodgrass means that Hull don’t have quite that set piece threat they used to, but they will still be hoping to make inroads and feed their Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez.
Probable Starting XI:- Jakupovic; Elabdellaoui, Dawson, Maguire, Robertson; Huddlestone; Diomande, Elmohamady, Clucas, Markovic; Hernandez
- The Hull City defence has conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season (47).
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 14 games against the Tigers.
- Hull have won just one game away this season, losing nine.
- The Tigers haven’t beaten the Red Devils in the league since November, 1974, when they won 2-0 in their clash in division two.
Player to watch out for
The immortal Swede was rested for Manchester United’s game against Wigan Athletic during the weekend, and will be raring to go against Hull City.
Zlatan is just one short of the two joint top-scorers in the Premier League so far, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa, and will be eager to add to his tally against Hull. The 35-year-old is still capable of the spectacular and Hull could be on the receiving end of something sinister.
Manchester United 3-0 Hull City
It looks like there’s an easy win for Manchester United on the cards. Hull City are still in a state of chaos after what has been a crazy January transfer window. The addition of Inter Milan center-back Andrea Ranocchia may have been a masterstroke, but he may not be cleared to participate against United.
This leaves the Hull defence in a precatious state, something which Zlatan and co. are sure to exploit. Manchester United will smash in at least three goals in this encounter, given the form they’re in, while Hull may not have the firepower in them to even grab one.