Hull City Vs. Arsenal: EPL Preview

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2009

EPL: Hull City Vs. Arsenal

Venue: Kingston Communication Stadium, Hull

Kick off: 17:30GMT

Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team travel to the KC Stadium to try to seek revenge for Hull City's 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season. The Tigers came from behind in dramatic fashion with goals from Geovanni and Cousin to inflict only the second loss for the Gunners at their new home.

The return fixture sees the teams in a different situation than it did in September, when the Tigers knocked the Gunners off the top spot with their victory. Arsenal are now in fifth place, eight points off the top, and Hull City are in eighth place, 11 points behind their opponents and only seven points above the bottom three in the table.

Hull City are without a win in the Premier League since early December, when they beat Middlesborough 2-1 at the KC Stadium. Their current bad run of form includes the 5-1 drubbing at Eastlands by Manchester City, which had Phil Brown holding his halftime team talk on the City of Manchester Stadium pitch.

Phil Brown will have to shuffle his pack of Tigers for the match, as George Boateng has joined the Tigers casualty list with a medial ligament injury that should keep him sidelined for up to three months. The Dutch international sustained the injury in a clash with Nicky Butt in Wednesday's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Newcastle United.

Kamil Zayette is suspended, and Paul McShane has been recalled to Sunderland from his loan spell with the Tigers. Andy Dawson and Anthony Gardner have both come back from injury and could be pressed into action to shore up the fragile Hull defence. 

Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal squad also have injury worries and will be without the long-term injured Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, and Theo Walcott. They have been joined by defenders William Gallas (hamstring) and Mikael Silvestre (thigh). Wenger will be hoping that his injury-ravaged defence will be boosted by centre back Alexandre Song, who is suffering with a thigh problem, passing a late fitness test.

The Tigers will be hoping that Angolan international Manucho will be eligible to play after joining the club on loan from Manchester United, as will Kevin Kilbane, who signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the East Yorkshire team on Wednesday from Wigan.

The Premier League new boys are in negotiations with Steve Finnan, the 31-year-old Espanyol full back who spent eight seasons with Liverpool, but he is struggling to pass a stringent club medical.