Hull City host Swansea City in this week’s highlight fixture in the Premier League. With little over ten games left to play, both sides will be desperate to get three points and move a big step closer to avoiding relegation. Will Swansea continue an impressive start to 2017? Can Hull catch their relegation rivals? Read on for some betting insight.
Will the revival lead to survival?
It was only eight games ago that Swansea (3.080*) was rock bottom of the Premier League, one point behind Hull (2.530*) in 19th. Both sides enjoyed a great run of form at the start of January and looked to have turned the tide. Swansea has managed to keep that run going, while Hull has fallen back into trouble.
The myth of the new manager effect was in full force when Paul Clement took charge of Swansea at the start of January and Marco Silva replaced Mike Phelan at Hull just a few days later. Following Silva’s appointment, Hull has played six games in the league (won two, drawn two and lost three).
Swansea has played eight league games since Clement became manager, winning five and losing three – those losses coming against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. The Swans seem to be in better form, but will Hull’s home field advantage influence the result?
Hull has had two spells in the Premier League in the last eight years, both of which only lasted two seasons. They finished 17th in 2008/09 before being relegated the following season, then finished 16th when they returned in 2013/14, only to be relegated a year later.
Swansea has made the second most defensive errors in the Premier League (15) and the third most errors leading to goals (six).
Swansea, on the other hand, has bucked the trend of newly promoted sides struggling in the Premier League. They won promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 2010/11 and haven’t been anywhere near the relegation zone since – the lowest they’ve finished is 12th (2013/14 and 2015/16).
Hull’s poor record with relegation might be seen as a negative but a loss for Swansea on Saturday would drag them into a battle they haven’t had to fight before.
Hull have paid the penalty
One part of Hull’s game that has hindered their chances of survival is discipline in defence. The Tigers lead the league in both penalties conceded and own goals scored – they have given away ten penalties (three more than any other team) and scored four own goals.
Swansea hasn’t fared much better – they’re third in the list of penalties conceded (five) and joint top with Hull for own goals scored. Additionally, Swansea has made the second most defensive errors in the Premier League (15) and the third most errors leading to goals (six).
A new Swansea style
Paul Clement has had a major impact at Swansea in terms of form, but he’s also dramatically changed their style of play. Previously a possession-centric team, Swansea now play with more width and tend to cross the ball into the box instead of working it through central areas.
Hull lead the league in both penalties conceded and own goals scored – they have given away ten penalties and scored four own goals.
This is the first season Swansea has averaged below 50% possession in their games (48.2%). They have also attempted the fourth most crosses per game in the league (24).
Swansea’s threat from wide areas extends to set pieces as they have scored 12 goals from dead ball situations (third in the league) – a worry for Hull who has conceded 14 goals from set pieces (the second highest in the Premier League).
What to expect
Hull will be desperate for a win on Saturday but avoiding defeat will be the first priority – bridging a four-point gap to safety with only ten games to go will be a real challenge. They will most likely set up to stop Swansea’s wing-backs from getting forward and try to cut off any supply to Gylfi Sigurdsson in the middle.
Sigurdsson has 10 assists this season – four of those have set-up Llorente who has scored 11 in total.
Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente are at the heart of everything good for Swansea. The Icelandic midfielder has 10 assists this season (the most in the Premier League) – four of those have set-up Llorente who has scored 11 in total. If Sigurdsson can find space to play, Swansea at 3.080* is a great value bet.
Under 2 and 2.5 at 1.952* might not appeal to most considering Swansea has the worst defensive record in the league (conceding 2.19 goals per game) and Hull the second worst (1.96 goals per game conceded), but both sides will set up defensively and be looking to sneak a goal and protect it.
What do the odds tell us?
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