Monday 26th December. 5:15PM. Sky Sports 1
Boxing Day football is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the entire festive period and football fans up and down the country will be praying that their wish of three points comes true. That’s especially true for Hull and Manchester City, albeit for contrasting reasons, which is why Monday’s showdown should be immensely entertaining.
Whilst the visitors are looking to keep the pressure up on leaders Chelsea, the Tigers are desperate to fight their way off the foot of the Premier League table. So who will start the post-Christmas run in style?
Can Hull Roar To Unlikely Win?
After an extremely positive start, the Tigers have discovered just how hard life in the Premier League can be following promotion, especially when the owners haven’t offered enough backing in player recruitment. Nevertheless, Mike Phelan and his team won’t be ready to throw the towel in yet.
A lack of quality and squad depth has seen the Tigers win just one of the last 15 Premier League matches but their performances have often showed the determination and commitment that could be crucial in their bid to turn things around. Meanwhile, they have to take heart from their performance against West Ham, even if they did lose the contest.
The likes of Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Jake Livermore can make life difficult for the Citizens while the fact Hull scored three goals in their last home games should provide reason for optimism too.
Having said that, they’ll be under no illusion regarding the challenge they face, especially with so many absentees.
Citizens Aiming To Keep Pressure On
For all the difficulties that they’ve faced, Pep Guardiola’s men entered Christmas sitting just one point below second-placed Liverpool, who have been highly praised. Nevertheless, with Chelsea entering the day a full seven points clear of the Citizens, the visitors cannot afford to lose further ground.
The turnaround against Arsenal will have established an extra sense of confidence and the visitors will be eager to keep their rejuvenated form running by sending a signal to their rivals. Frankly, this is the type of game they must win – and they have more than enough quality to do so.
Guardiola is still without key man Sergio Aguero, as well as Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan, which could open the door for lesser stars like Kelechi Iheanacho or Leroy Sane to thrive. Likewise, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne all have the star potential to fire the visitors to a valuable victory.
Defensively, City have had their wobbles. However, they will be confident against the division’s lowest scorers. Guardiola has already discovered that anyone can beat anyone in this league. Nevertheless, if his side plays to its potential, it will be their match to lose.
Hull City v Manchester City Betting
Despite being the visitors, Manchester City are the clear favourites for this one at 3/10 with 888sport while Hull are priced 9/1. Alternatively, the draw can be backed at 4/1.
Regardless of the insecurities that have shown at the Etihad this term, it’s hard to see anything other than a City win here. What’s more, at such an important part of the season, we expect them to register the points in style.
Hull need to go for it too in their search for points, and the visitors should pick them apart before the interval. Assuming they do, a routine win could be on the cards.
Whatever team Guardiola picks, the Citizens will almost certainly retain most of the possession. And if Hull do fall behind, it could become a very long evening for the struggling hosts.
Do not be overly surprised if those frustrations lead to a few late challenges. With this in mind, at 11/2, we’re backing someone to see red.