Premier League Preview: Manchester City Vs Hull City, City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday, 28th November, 2009, 15:00GMT.
When these two teams met last season things were very different. Manchester City were a team on the up but before the influx of huge amount of Arab investment money made them a bloated club full of stars but short on team spirit.
Hull City were sitting 6th in the Premiership still riding high on the adrenaline of their first season in the top flight. The Blues were at the opposite end of the table sitting third from the bottom of the table.
This season the roles are reversed with the Tigers sitting just above the relegation places in 15th and Manchester City in 6th place.
Despite Manchester City's all star team they have been without a win in the Premiership in seven games when they beat West Ham 3-1 at Eastlands. What will be most worrying for Manchester City boss Mark Hughes will be the amount of goals conceded in that period. In those seven games they have leaked nine goals and only Liverpool and Aston Villa were opponents that Mark Hughes would expect to be difficult games. The rest been Fulham, Burnley, Wigan and Birmingham, all teams that Hughes would be expecting to gain three points against.
Phil Brown's Tigers are going through a purple patch at the moment gaining seven points from their last three games, all at home in the KC Stadium. What will be a doubt for Brown and the Hull City management is the clubs in effectiveness on their travels. The Tigers have only picked up one point from a possible 18 points.
The last time the two teams played at the City of Manchester Stadium the infamous half time team talk was the major talking point from the game. However, despite the drama that the press made out of the incident the performance of the Tigers on that day was shockingly poor and the team deserved much worse than the 5-1 drubbing.
This time the Tigers are a very different outfit from the team that played on Boxing Day 2008. Gone are Hull City's forward line of Marlon King and Dean Windass. Windass to retirement via a loan spell at Oldham and King to a stint in jail for Grievous Bodily Harm. Brown has brought in Jimmy Bullard, Jozy Altidore, Stephen Hunt and Jan Vanegoor of Hesselink to bolster the Tigers lacklustre attacking options
Manchester City are now a team of world beaters, everyone an international. They will be without the services of Kolo Toure who is doubtful and Martin Petrov is out. Hughes may have the opportunity to pick Vincent Kompany and Michael Johnson again after they both featured for the reserves in midweek.
Hughes will also be bouyed by the availability of Robinho who should be back from a three month spell out with an ankle injury. The want away Brazilian will be a welcome addition to the underperforming Blues who have been lacking some inspiration.
The east Yorkshire club will be happy to see the possible return of Bullard who sat our the 3-2 victory over Eveton midweek along with Craig Fagan who also missed the game with a shoulder injury and Bernard Mendy who was suspended for that game. Brown will not have the services of Seyi Olofinjana who sustained a hamstring injury whilst on international duty with Nigeria in Kenya.
The Tigers face an uphill task with Hull City not having won a game against Manchester City in Manchester since 15th February 1930. Brown will be hoping though that his charges can sustain their current fine form for another week. Whilst Hughes will be hoping that Robinho will turn the tide back in the Blues favour.
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