Pre-match analysis: Tigers need to find their roar in midfield

With potentially 15 senior players unavailable, Hull City manager Marco Silva is limited in his team selection. Yet with the Tigers' current predicament, those players granted the opportunity to grace the KCOM turf will have to show fight and desire to stay in the top flight, starting against an industrious Bournemouth team this weekend.

The engine room battle

There is barely anything to choose between the styles of play employed by each team. Bournemouth average just 21 passes more than their opponents per game and play the ball on the floor 82% of the time compared to Hull's 79%. Whilst the Tigers edge two more average crosses per game, Bournemouth tend to contribute just one more through ball in a 90 minute period. 

With such similar statistics, the outcome could ultimately be decided in the battle of the engine room. There are very few teams that can match the energy and industry of a Bournemouth trio including Harry Arter, Jack Wilshere and Andrew Surman, with the latter consistently racking up one of the longest distances travelled each season in the top flight. In comparison, Hull have lacked a desire to fight in central midfield, reflected by their lowly league position. With time running out, that attitude must change immediately for the Tigers.

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

Wide areas could be key

Bournemouth's main strength will go into direct battle with one of Hull's greatest weaknesses. Eddie Howe's team enjoy overloading the flanks, with the likes of Junior Stanislas and Ryan Fraser or Joshua King, joined going forward by roaming full-backs. With David Meyler likely to fill the void of right-back once more, Bournemouth may fancy their chances on that side of the pitch, as Manchester United did during the week.

Yet with Nathan Ake recalled by Chelsea and Simon Francis suspended, one of their most dangerous outlets in Charlie Daniels could be forced to deputise in central defence. Not only does this limit the attacking threat of Bournemouth in wide areas, but it also slightly weakens the Cherries' ability to defend against set-pieces. With the left foot of Robert Snodgrass a threat against any team, a Bournemouth side normally very adept at defending set-pieces will be tested to the limit.