Hull v Swansea
Saturday December 22, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports
Hull move clear of the drop zone
Fraizer Campbell's first-half double helped Hull to just a third home victory of 2018/19 as they beat Brentford 2-0 last weekend. The result lifted the Tigers to 17th in the standings and five points clear of the relegation zone, with Nigel Adkins' outfit suffering just a sole reverse in eight outings now (W4-D3-L1).
City goalkeeper David Marshall was called into action after the break as the Bees pressed for a route back, but Hull held firm despite enjoying just 28% of the ball and being out-shot 16-7. Adkins admitted, "Yes, we defended deep, but we defended really well. And if we tried to play expansive it might have been a different scoreline. We have showed there's different ways to win a game of football."
Injury-plagued centre-half Ondrej Mazuch made his first start of the season against Brentford, alongside Tommy Elphick at the heart of defence. With Eric Lichaj, Reece Burke and Jordy De Wijs all coming close to a first-team return, Adkins must decide whether to switch things up at the back for Saturday.
Celina inspire Swansea turnaround
Bersant Celina came off the bench to score one goal and create another as Swansea fought back in dramatic fashion to beat Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. The Owls had earlier seized on sloppy defending to break the deadlock, although substitute Celina turned the tide soon after his introduction.
Victory was Swansea's second in succession, lifting the Welsh outfit into ninth position, only four points adrift of the Championship play-off places. Manager Graham Potter was pleased with his team's application as City controlled the encounter, defying torrential rain and howling winds to create several chances.
With Martin Olsson ruled out for the rest of the season, Connor Roberts came into the team against Wednesday and was superb at right-back with Kyle Naughton switching to the left side of the back four. Wilfried Bony missed out through injury, whilst Celina and Jefferson Montero are now pushing for recalls.
Swans can avoid Humberside reverse
Hull welcome Swansea to Humberside for just their second second-tier meeting during the 21st century. The Tigers were 2-0 winners here back in 2010 and have recorded clean sheets in five of their past seven when welcoming the Welsh club, running out victories in six of those seven contests (W6-D0-L1).
Hull 2.608/5 have climbed away from the Championship's relegation zone following an impressive run of results (W4-D3-L1) that's included keep three clean sheets from their most recent four fixtures at the KCOM Stadium (W2-D1-L1). However, the hosts have W1-D3-L5 when welcoming teams above them.
Swansea 2.829/5 are looking to win three league games on the spin for the first time since May 2017 with Graham Potter's troops having achieved top honours in two of their past three games as guests. The visitors have W3-D1-L1 on the road at bottom-half dwellers and will look to monopolise possession.
The Swans rank sixth for Expected Goals from open play ratio, as only four teams have generated more consistent goalscoring chances. Therefore, the guests do appeal with a +0/0.5 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.748/11. Despite their recent improvements, four of Hull's six wins have arrived against bottom-six teams this term.
Contrasting goal trends
Hull have tightened up in recent weeks at the KCOM Stadium, silencing West Brom, Norwich and Brentford. However, the hosts have faced 43 shots in those matches, conceding 2.92 Expected Goals, suggesting the Tigers aren't completely watertight defensively just yet.
Nevertheless, nine of the Humbersiders' 11 encounters on home soil have paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.738/11 backers and six of Swansea's 11 away days have followed suit. Even so, seven of the Swans' past nine have featured three or more goals, as well as Both Teams To Score, as the visitors have opened up of late