Everton vs Hull City Preview: Toffees look for second successive win against out-of-form Tigers

Everton vs Hull City Preview: Toffees look for second successive win against out-of-form Tigers

A preview of Everton’s trip to the KCOM Stadium to face Hull City.

Connor Bennett

Ronald Koeman’s Everton will be looking to build their Boxing Day win over Leicester City as they travel north to face Mike Phelan’s Hull City.

The Blues' fine win over the Foxes came thanks to two goals from their two Belgians after a classic, workman-like performance from Everton

A win away at Hull would provide a good start to the end of an indifferent 2016 for Everton, which has offered promise but ultimately delivered very little

Another three points for Koeman’s side will see them close the gap to Manchester United in sixth and provide a bit of breathing room from Southampton in eighth. 

The hosts are coming off a 3-0 loss to Manchester City where they showed, for the first-half at least, that they can battle during games and keep more talented teams at bay. 

Hull started the season in great form, beating defending champions Leicester on the opening day. A good first month followed, as did a Manager of the Month award for Phelan, but the Tigers have struggled ever since. 

They currently sit bottom of Premier League table with a mere 12 points. They have only won three games all season, with their last win coming against Southampton in November. 

Toffees looking to build on Leicester win 

Everton's win last time out against Leicester came from their solid defensive base, built on a back three - or back five depending on how you view it - which never really allowed the hosts to threaten their goal. 

Joel Robles performed well in goal, commanding his area but the work of the back line, in particular, Ramiro Funes Mori and Ashley Williams, led the way for the Blues. The Argentine and Welshman both sniffed out the danger and guided young Mason Holgate through the ninety minutes. 

Chances came for the hosts but they never really put the Toffees under any pressure. 

It also helped that Everton scored at pivotal points in the game. Kevin Mirallas’ goal just after half time came after Koeman’s side had weathered another of the Foxes attacking threats while Romelu Lukaku’s last minute finish just helped put the game out of reach. 

Tom Davies appeared from the bench to replace Gareth Barry and Everton found the pace that had been lacking in central midfield. Davies had a number of nice touches which led to Everton counter attacks and it’s something the Blues will likely have to replicate against Hull. 

Ross Barkley even appeared from the bench and performed well. He was deployed next to Davies and Idrissa Gana Gueye in the centre of the park and his fresh legs helped move the Blues forward late into the game. While not known for his defensive work, he helped pick up runners and had a number of clearances.

His ball forward to Lukaku helped the Belgian seal the three points for Everton and Barkley’s brief cameo may have helped him earn a recall to the starting eleven. 

Probable teams and injury report

Everton will continue without James McCarthy and Maarten Stekelenburg as they both recover from injuries sustained in the loss to Liverpool.

Both Holgate and Davies put in a good showing in the win over Leicester. Holgate started in a back three with Funes Mori and Williams while Davies replaced Barry from the bench. The pair have a good chance to start the Friday night trip to Hull. 

For Phelan's charges, Abel Hernandez will definitely be sidelined for as he recovers from a groin injury he picked up in November. 

Will Keane and Moses Odubajo also remain long-term absentees for the Tigers. 

Likely Everton line-up: Robles, Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines (C), Gana Gueye, Davies, Barkley, Mirallas, Valencia and Lukaku

Likely Hull City line-up: Marshall, Robertson, Maguire, Dawson, Davies, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Clucas, Snodgrass and Mbokani. 

Matchday stats:

- Romelu Lukaku has scored in two of his last three league appearances against Hull.

  • - The Tigers are the only side left in the Premier League without a clean sheet at home this season.
  • - Everton have scored in nine of their last 10 league games against Hull, though they failed to score in their last fixture, a 2-0 loss at the KCOM in January 2015.