MX23RW : Monday, November 19 18:35:18
Aug 27, 2016 at 5.30pm UK at ​The KCOM Stadium
Attendance: 24,560
Hull City
0-1
Man UtdManchester United
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rashford (92')

Preview: Hull City vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole previews Saturday's clash between Hull City and Manchester United, both of whom have made perfect starts to the new Premier League season.

Two sides protecting perfect starts to the new Premier League season face off at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday evening as Hull City play host to Manchester United.

The Tigers have stunned many by picking up two wins from two, despite all the off-field malaise, while the Red Devils head to Humberside still enjoying their honeymoon period under boss Jose Mourinho.


Hull City

Hull City Assistant Manager Mike Phelan looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Hull City at the Etihad Stadium on February 7, 2015© Getty Images

The new season may only be a couple of weeks old, but the perilous pre-campaign talk of Hull facing an immediate drop down to the Championship now seems like a long time ago following successive wins to begin the term.

City are one of only four sides to have made a perfect start, while just six other top-flight teams have managed to avoid defeat in the opening fortnight of the season - some achievement for a club backed so heavily to go down.

That is not to say that everything is quite perfect all of a sudden, as the proposed takeover of the Humberside outfit by a Chinese consortium is still in the balance at this stage, and just 13 senior players remain fit with less than a week of the transfer window left to run.

Hull have been linked with numerous names in the past week or so, including the likes of Micah Richards, Salvatore Sirigu and Ryan Mason, who are all reportedly on the brink of joining and could bolster the Tigers' ranks following the upcoming international break.

The man tasked with bringing in new recruits is Mike Phelan, who it is fair to say has done all that he possibly can to nail down the position of head coach for the long term, with the City players also offering their support for the 53-year-old to be given the nod.

This weekend will be particularly special for Phelan, as he spent 14 years as part of United's backroom staff and was surprisingly not kept on by David Moyes when the Scotsman replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm in 2013.

Phelan still has a strong bond with the Red Devils, but he admits that he is desperate to get one over on his former side on Saturday to boost his chances of being named as Steve Bruce's permanent successor at the KCOM Stadium.

Hull will this weekend be looking to join Bolton Wanderers as only the second side to win all three of their opening Premier League games following promotion; an achievement made all the more impressive when taking into account the managerial and ownership issues that pointed to a gloomy season ahead.

Now the Tigers have the chance to pull off another scalp early in the campaign, having already seen off champions Leicester City and Swansea City in their opening two games, and make it four wins from four under Phelan when also taking into account their 3-1 triumph over Exeter City in the League Cup in midweek.

Recent form in Premier League: WW
Recent form (all competitions): WWW


Manchester United

Jose Mourinho the manager of Chelsea gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Chelsea FC and FC Dynamo Kyiv at Stamford Bridge on November 4, 2015© Getty Images

If there was one thing that Mourinho needed from his opening month as Man United manager, following weeks of talk and big-money signings, it was a perfect start to his tenure.

That has so far come to fruition, with victories over south coast duo Bournemouth and Southampton giving the Portuguese the straightforward, no-nonsense start that he craved when taking over from Louis van Gaal in the summer.

The cynics will tell you that United were always destined to take six points from six when looking at the fixture list, but it must also be remembered that they lost both corresponding matches last season, albeit in different circumstances.

It is fair to say that the early signs are very much positive for United supporters, then, as the likes of Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic look to justify their combined transfer fees and bloated wages.

Ibrahimovic in particular has taken to his new surroundings in much the same way he did in every other major division he has competed in, bagging the winning goal in the Community Shield win to get the ball rolling and following that up with three more against Bournemouth and Southampton.

The free signing is now looking to oust Pavel Pogrebnyak as the Premier League's highest-scoring newcomer across the first three league games, the Russian scoring five during a prolific start to life at Fulham in 2012 before slowly drifting off the goal-scoring pace.

Incredibly, Ibrahimovic - always the main focus of attention no matter how many high-profile names are on the field - has lost just 19 of his last 185 league appearances across spells with AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and now United, which is the same number of defeats suffered by Hull when relegated from the Prem two seasons ago.

City may be better off putting more focus on Wayne Rooney on Saturday evening, however, as the Englishman boasts a fine record against the Tigers - seven goals in his last five appearances and three assists when going further back.

For all the ongoing talk of further new arrivals, including most notably Jose Fonte in the heart of defence, Mourinho will surely now be looking to find a settled starting lineup as he aims to extend this perfect start into the international break.

Recent form in Premier League: WW


Team News

Chris Smalling of Manchester United gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on August 22, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

Shaun Maloney was surprisingly omitted from the latest Scotland squad this week, but he is in contention to earn a recall to City's starting lineup following his goal from the bench against Swansea.

Hull had just 11 outfield players fit for selection at one point, although they have Harry Maguire to call upon once more following his return to action against Exeter - the question is whether Phelan now sticks with a winning formula.

Jake Livermore has partnered Curtis Davies in the heart of defence so far, with Michael Dawson and Alex Bruce both still nursing injuries, and that may well be the way things stay this weekend.

The front three of Adama Diomande, Abel Hernandez and Robert Snodgrass have six goals between them already this season, meanwhile, so United's defence could well have their toughest test yet.

In terms of the visitors, Chris Smalling was introduced from the bench last Friday and may well be thrown back into the mix should Mourinho wish to add some height alongside Bailly in the heart of the backline.

The only other real talking point concerns Mkhitaryan, who has yet to be given a start in the Red Devils' three games this season despite his hugely impressive stats from his time with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

Anthony Martial may be most at threat following more front-page tabloid stories this past week, which has reportedly upset his manager, although Juan Mata is another who will be left to sweat over his inclusion on Humberside.

Hull City possible starting lineup:
Jakupovic; Elmohamady, Livermore, Davies, Robertson; Meyler, Huddlestone, Clucas; Snodgrass, Hernandez, Diomande

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Pogba, Fellaini; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic


Head To Head

Hull have lost 10 and won none of their last 11 meetings with United in all competitions, last tasting victory against this weekend's opponents in November 1974.

The Red Devils have won three of the four previous visits here, drawing the other game in that sequence 0-0 on the final day of 2014-15 to confirm the Tigers' relegation into the Championship.

Rooney leads the way in terms of goals scored with seven in his last five, but United will be without two men who have scored four of the club's last six goals against City, as Robin van Persie and James Wilson have since departed.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Hull City 1-2 Manchester United

Not quite the one-sided affair many would have expected when looking ahead to this fixture a couple of weeks ago, but one that the visitors should be taking maximum points from nonetheless. It is fair to say that the Tigers have nothing to lose this weekend, though, and they will give their all in an attempt to give stand-in boss Phelan victory against his former suitors.


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Who will win Saturday's Premier League meeting between Hull City and Manchester United?

Hull City
Draw
Manchester United
Hull City
11.2%
Draw
12.9%
Manchester United
75.8%
Jose Fonte reveals a flawless six-pac after scoring for Southampton against Arsenal on December 26, 2015
Read Next:
Mourinho 'to wait until deadline for Fonte'
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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