Sunday 22nd January 2017 – 16.30 – Sky Sports 1 HD
The final game this weekend is the closest thing you’d get to a ‘banker’ in the Premier League as lead leaders Chelsea take on a Hull City side currently residing one place off the foot of the table.
Whilst Hull City have seen signs of improvement since latest manager Marco Silva has taken charge winning 3-1 last week against Bournemouth and putting on a much improved display against Man Utd in the EFL cup semi-final, the task ahead of them at Stamford bridge is perhaps a step too far.
Chelsea will be buoyed by the results on Saturday as Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City all dropped points and will see this as a great opportunity to stretch their lead to 8 points at the top of the table; you wouldn’t bet against it.
Chelsea have a fantastic record against Hull City and are unbeaten in their nine Premier League meetings with Hull winning seven and drawing two, keeping six clean sheets in the process.
This isn’t particularly good news for Hull especially when you consider they have kept just one clean sheet this season in the Premier League, and that came against Swansea back in August.
Chelsea have won 14 of their last 15 Premier League games will be confident to pick up their 8th consecutive home win.
Chelsea’s star midfielder Eden Hazard like’s playing against Hull and could be the key man; having scored three and assisted one in his last four Premier League games against the Tigers.
He also only needs one more goal to reach double figures in the Premier League this season something he’s managed twice before in his Chelsea career.
Top striker Diego Costa is available, having missed the win over Leicester because of a ‘back problem’ amid widespread reports fitness issues and interest from clubs in China.
Club captain John Terry is also available again after serving a suspension.
Hull City will have an even tougher time considering they have 9 players out injured, Snodgrass the biggest miss, although there is a chance he will return following a minor muscle injury. Hull City will still be without Henriksen, Will Keane, Moses Odubajo and Alex Bruce although Meyler and Shaun Maloney should be in contention for a return at Stamford Bridge. Hull City will need to make sure they fully focus on this match and keep the EFL Cup semi-final 2nd leg on Thursday out of their mind for the 90 minutes.
Unfortunately for them, Chelsea will be too strong, too clinical and should run out comfortable winners.
By Michael Thatcher