How Everton Will Line Up Against Hull City

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How Everton Will Line Up Against Hull City
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Now that we've consumed the latest dose of international football, attention once again returns to domestic matters—namely, the Premier League.

Last time out, Everton surrendered their unbeaten record to Manchester City, and Roberto Martinez will be keen for a return to winning ways as his side entertain Hull.

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Currently residing in eighth, a point and a place behind Everton, the Tigers have given a far better account of themselves than many anticipated. They haven't conceded a Premier League goal in three hours and 46 minutes and are a tough side to break down.

In recent encounters, Everton won two of the pair's four divisional clashes between 2008 and 2010, winning both home games but drawing and losing in Hull.

 

Team News

Everton were rocked by news that Darron Gibson ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while away on international duty, as reports the Daily Mail.

The midfielder looks set to be sidelined for a considerable length of time, although a typically positive Martinez feels a return this season isn't unrealistic.

Elsewhere, Steven Pienaar and Antolin Alcaraz remain absent, while Apostolos Vellios also picked up a knock playing for Greece's Under-21s.

Martinez predicts Pienaar coming into contention for next week's trip to Aston Villa, while Alcaraz is still approximately three weeks away from action. 

 

Selection

With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI.

Everton vs. Hull - Football tactics and formations

Aside from Steven Pienaar coming in for Leon Osman, and possibly Gibson starting in midfield, this is Everton's strongest XI. It's the side that started so well against Newcastle but had to be rearranged against Manchester City to exclude an ineligible Gareth Barry.

Once again, the back five will remain intact, as they have done all season.

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That said, three consecutive clean sheets seem a distant memory for this unit, having shipped seven goals in their last three games together. A fourth clean sheet of the season will be key in what could prove a low-scoring tussle with Hull.

Barry will make a welcome return, shoring up midfield, and will partner James McCarthyone of the few to impress against Manchester City.

Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku are all guaranteed starters, if fit, leaving the only minor selection debate between Steven Naismith and Osman.

Given Everton's performance at Newcastle, Martinez is more likely to favour Osman and return to this successful XIalthough Naismith impressed for Scotland against Croatia and has performed better this season.

 

Key Players

Tom Huddlestone will be Hull's most important player. The visitors average just 42.8 percent possession, the second-lowest in the Premier League, and will again surrender a large amount of play in this match.

When they are on the ball, Huddlestone will send several quick, accurate diagonals to the flanks, in an attempt to overload the Toffees. He's been impressive since moving to Hull, and his powerful long-range drives may also trouble Tim Howard.

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For the hosts, Leighton Baines hasn't been as prominent as normal this season—occasionally nullified—but also more conscientious of his defensive duties. However, this is the kind of game where he should be a regular menace in the attacking third and, ultimately, prove the game's decisive factor.

The away side will keep men behind the ball, play narrow and look to cordon off their penalty area, inviting England's left-back to surge forward and cross at will.

If he can repeat the form he produced on international duty, Hull will find it hard to keep him quiet.

Prediction: Everton 2-0 Hull City


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