Hull City vs Middlesbrough
Date: April 5th, 2017
Kickoff: 19:45 UK/20:45 CET
Venue: KCOM Stadium
Hull City host Middlesbrough in a midweek clash that could have huge ramifications for both teams’ seasons. If Hull are to win they could move out of the relegation zone and seven points clear of fellow battlers Boro. On the other hand, if Boro win they would be only one point behind Hull and Swansea providing the Swans lose to Spurs.
Boro also have a game in hand on both teams meaning a win against Hull could be huge in their bid for survival as if they beat Hull and win their game in hand, which is against Sunderland, they would move out of the relegation zone.
Hull will be going into this game full of confidence. The Tigers have just beaten West Ham United and have also picked up a vital win against relegation rivals Swansea City before the international break.
A large part of Hull’s recent improvement in form is due to the appointment of manager Marco Silva. Since taking over in January, Silva has guided Hull to impressive victories against Manchester United and Liverpool. The Portuguese manager has greatly improved Hull. If they were to beat Boro it would go a long way in making sure Silva keeps them up this season.
Silva has also made Hull City’s home ground a very tough place to come. In Hull’s last seven home games in all competitions, they have won six and drew one. Furthermore, Marco Silva himself has not lost a home game as a manager in over three years. The Tigers and Silva will be looking to continue this form against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.
Injury news: Ryan Mason remains out. Tom Huddlestone is still suspended.
Middlesbrough will be hoping to use this game to turn their season around. Boro put in a lacklustre performance last week in a key battle with Swansea. They managed just one shot on goal and thus they are now in desperate need of three points after a poor 0-0 draw with Swansea.
Boro have a tough run of games coming up after this week. Some of the teams included in Boro’s end of season run are Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. With Boro five points behind 18th and four points behind Hull, anything less than a win will surely doom Middlesbrough to the drop.
However, it is unlikely Boro will win as they, despite a change of manager and formation, are still not creating chances and scoring goals.
Injury news: Callum Chambers, Fabio and Gaston Ramirez are all doubts. George Friend may be fit in time for the game.
Head to head
The two clubs have clashed 60 times since 1922. Boro have won considerably more of the matchups, 26 in total. Hull have won 17 times and the remaining games have ended in draws.
Last time out Boro beat Hull 1-0 in a scrappy victory at the Riverside in December 2016.
Last time Hull beat Middlesbrough in any competition was in the Championship in 2015 when they dominated the Teessider’s in a 3-0 victory.
Hull XI: Jakupovic, Davies, Maguire, Rannocchia, Elmohamady, N’Diaye, Clucas, Robertson, Markovic, Niasse, Hernandez
Middlesbrough XI: Valdes, Barragan, Gibson, Espinosa, Friend, Downing, Clayton, De Roon, Traore, Gestede, Negredo
It’s hard to predict anything other than a Hull win here. Hull are unbeaten at home under Silva, winning six out of seven. Combined this with the fact Boro haven’t won since December of last year and the fact Boro have not scored an away goal in 2017, a Hull victory looks all but certain.
Final score prediction: 1-0 Hull