Pre-match analysis: How can Hull get back on track against Stoke?

Pre-match analysis: How can Hull get back on track against Stoke?

The Tigers have earned just one point in their last six games.

Chris Lincoln

It might not be the most glamourous match on paper, but Hull City against Stoke City leads to a fascinating contest between two sides with contrasting form. Stoke are unbeaten in their last three, whilst Hull are desperate to get their season back on track.

Can Hull keep Arnautovic and Shaqiri quiet?

The creative forces of Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic will take great faith from the performances of Junior Stanislas and Jordan Ibe against Hull last weekend. The pair were instrumental in a 6-1 victory for Bournemouth and tore Hull's full-backs to shreds.

Tigers' right-back Ahmed Elmohamady is already playing out of position and could not handle Ibe, whilst manager Mike Phelan will call on either the inexperience of Josh Tymon or ask Sam Clucas to play out of position on the left with Andrew Robertson injured. If Shaqiri and Arnautovic can match the ability they are capable of, the Hull defence could be in for a torrid afternoon.

Hull will also be well advised to keep the ball on the floor against the Potters. They have won less aerial duels than any other team in the top flight, whilst Stoke have won almost twice as many. Set pieces are unlikely to prove fruitful, whilst lone striker Abel Hernandez will struggle against Bruno Martins Indi and Ryan Shawcross if Hull use the long ball as an outlet.

Shaqiri will look to run the tempo of the game (photo: Getty Images)
Shaqiri will look to run the tempo of the game (photo: Getty Images)

Snodgrass could be key

The hosts can take positives from analysis in a handful of areas. Stoke themselves could face problems at full-back, particularly on the right, with Glen Johnson out injured and Phil Bardsley struggling for fitness. That side of the pitch happens to be where Hull's greatest attacking threat will be situated. Robert Snodgrass is enjoying a purple patch for club and country and will look to test the fitness of Bardsley or ability of his replacement.

With a lowly 75.9% success rate, Stoke also cannot boast to be the greatest passers of the ball. Hull may not be leading the way in many areas but they have managed to make more interceptions than the majority of teams in the league. Buoyed by the industry of Jake Livermore, Ryan Mason and Tom Huddlestone in the middle of the pitch, Hull will hope to break up as much of Stoke's play as possible.