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A (Haw)thorn in City’s side?

A (Haw)thorn in City’s side?

Kathryn Townsley23 Feb - 17:42
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Simon Bromwich previews Hull City v WBA Saturday 24th February 2024

The Championship league table is a little unusual for February. The second division of English football is never very usual anyway but the large margin between 4th and 5th at this stage in the season has become a stopping point for many fans ambitions. There are still 39 points available from the remaining 13 fixtures, when thought about, is still more than half the league teams to play again.

A victory on the south coast on Tuesday night by no means was spectacular but it was one of the most important three points of the season. Even a point in the early kick off on Saturday will guarantee Liam Rosenior’s side will continue to occupy a play-off position this weekend.

This weekend’s opponents, West Brom, have seemingly been a thorn in the side of City, just one victory in the last eight meeting of the two sides stretching back to 2018. If you want to stretch back to the 2014 Premier League days, 2 wins in 14. The stats seem to be stacked against the Tigers so far.

The Baggies have by far the worst away record of any of the top 6 sides this season with just 5 wins on the road, amassing 19 points.

Conversely, Hull City are by far the worst home side of the top 6 at home, just 7 wins from 16.

Despite some underwhelming performances of late, a successful side needs to grind out the difficult wins and that is exactly what has happened in recent weeks. An outside perspective may see five victories from six for City, all of which have come by a one goal margin.

Winning and losing aside, the return of Philogene has been an enormous factor even while playing on the unfavoured right hand side. Welcoming back Seri will bring some much-needed control to an occasional hectic midfield. Morton and Slater have performed well but neither quite has the calmness which comes with the experience of the Ivorian international. Beyond any selected XI, to boast a competitive bench which included internationals shows the danger City can pose to any side in the division even from the substitutes.

Since an FA Cup exit to local rivals Wolves, West Brom have lost just one of five. The only defeat at home last Friday to Southampton. A few years ago, there were several ex-Tigers amongst the Baggies squad but only Conor Townsend remains, the now 30-year-old left back is a mainstay at the Hawthorns with over 200 appearances. Alex Mowatt is the pick of the dangermen for Carlos Corberan’s (not to be confused with ex-Wednesday boss, Carlos Carvalhal) team. The former Barnsley midfielder has played a pivotal role in the centre of the park. Top scorer Bradon Thomas-Asante is out until March. This fixture could turn out to be a potentially close and edgy game at the MKM.

Score prediction: Hull City 3-2 West Brom

Expected XI: Allsopp; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Giles; Philogene, Seri, Morton, Zaroury; Carvalho, Omur.

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