Hull City v Everton: Toffess out to tame the toothless Tigers
By: Timothy Dehinbo
Everton will again be without first-choice goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg when they face struggling Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on Friday Night Football.
The Netherlands international picked up a dead leg in a clash with team-mate Leighton Baines in the recent Merseyside derby, with Joel Robles deputising in goal against Leicester City on Boxing Day. The Spaniard kept a clean sheet and turned in an impressive display as Everton beat the Premier League champions 2-0 at the King Power Stadium, including creating the visitors’ opening goal for Kevin Mirallas.
That win was Everton’s first away victory since September and ended a run of four straight defeats on the road and manager Ronald Koeman wants a repeat performance “Of course, it’s always difficult if you’re not winning away or you don’t have those kind of performances to be happy – then you need to break it,”said Koeman.
“The win was good the way we played in the second half, the way we controlled the game [Everton scored
both of their goals after the break]. We need the same attitude on Friday.”
Hull are bottom of the table after winning only one of their last 16 league games, and losing their last three and boss Mike Phelan believes his players will need to quickly adapt to their new 3-5-2 formation if they are to drag themselves out of the relegation battle.
“It’s not an impossible mission, we’ll keep going,” said Phelan.
“We are up for the challenge ahead and players have bought into the new formation. We need to use it to its best.” Manager Mike Phelan still thinks Hull can stay in the Premier League despite their poor start to the season.
Everton midfielder James McCarthy remains unavailable, with an hamstring as is full-back Bryan Oviedo is also out while Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic are both out of action due to long-term knee injuries.
Phelan is expected to choose from the same squad for the home game against Everton. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor has returned to training following summer back surgery, but Abel Hernandez is still out with a groin problem and
fellow striker Will Keane and defender Moses Odubajo both knee injuries, remain long-term absentees.
Hull won their last Premier League contest against Everton on New Year’s Day in 2015, after a run of four fixtures without beating the Toffees (D1 L3). Everton have found the net in nine of their last 10 league games against Hull, though they failed to score in their last fixture against them in January 2015.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in two of his last three league appearances against the Tigers. Lukaku has had a hand in eight of Everton’s 11 Premier League away goals this season (seven goals, one assist).
Hull have scored the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (14) and failed to score in seven of their last 10 games. The Tigers are the only side left in the Premier League without a home clean sheet this season. No team has scored fewer first-half goals than Hull in the Premier League this season (3, level with Sunderland).
Everton should get a win here.
PREDICTION: HULL CITY 1-3 EVERTON