Man City: Caballero, Sagna, Demichelis, Otadmendi, Kolarov, Fernando, Delph, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Bony
Hull City: McGregor, Elmohamady, Maguire, Davies, Robertson, Huddlestone, Livermore, Clucas, Diame, Hernandez, Snodgrass
At the start of December, with another European game still to play, Hull City coming to the Etihad this evening isn’t the easiest of games for Manuel Pellegrini to rest some players for the frivolities of playing football in England over Christmas. Whilst other leagues start to wind down coming into January, the Premier League kicks on and with injuries mounting, a League Cup fixture where some of the more peripheral figures took to the field would have been ideal preparation for City. Whilst that may not be the case this evening, the return of David Silva really could be one of those ‘it’s like a new signing’ moments coming up to Christmas. The Spaniard, missing for two months, is a world class player on his day and certainly eases the creative burden on De Bruyne and the rest of City’s attacking players.
Injuries dictate that City will remain fairly unchanged as a back five, with Caballero to still in goal for the injured Hart. Such continuity could prove a blessing in disguise going into a tough game at the weekend against Stoke City, whilst Aguero could potentially start on the bench after picking up a little niggle at the weekend.
Hull City. Relegated last year amongst the backdrop of threats of being sold by their eccentric owner Assem Allam due to naming issues, Hull really could have been one of those clubs like Wigan and Blackpool who left the Premier League out of the backdoor to never really mount a challenge for promotion. Consistency and continuity however goes a long way, and with the retention of Steve Bruce, Hull City have a manager who knows how to deal with relegation and muster a promotion charge the following campaign.
What surprised me the other day when watching Hull City (vs. Bristol City) is that when Hull have a fully fit starting XI at their disposal, the team wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League. Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Mo Diame, Matt Dawson are just some to be plying their trade on The Humber with international experience. Whilst such players might not rip up trees week-in week-out, compared to the squads assembled at Villa and Sunderland for example and you can’t help but think that Hull could stay up in the Premier League this season. Despite entering this game on the back of a defeat to Derby at the weekend, Hull have been on a lovely run of late and have already put to the sword Newcastle and Leicester City in this very competition. Abel Hernandez certainly will offer a threat with 8 goals this term and a return to the squad in some shape or form for Robert Snodgrass will be a welcome sight for Hull fans.
Match Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Hull City