Leicester City vs Hull City pre-match analysis: How the Tigers can hunt down the Foxes in relegation crunch clash

Leicester City vs Hull City pre-match analysis: How the Tigers can hunt down the Foxes in relegation crunch clash

Two rejuvenated sides in Leicester City and Hull City meet at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Ten months ago both Leicester City and Hull City were riding a crest of emotion.

The Foxes secured an improbable maiden Premier League title, whilst the Tigers returned to the top-flight with a Championship play-off final victory against Sheffield Wednesday.

Back to basics as both look to escape the drop

Return to the present day and both sides are in precarious positions, though look to be coming out the other side of a stormy first-half of the season.

Marco Silva seems to have steadied the ship at Hull and rekindled their confidence, although the Humberside club are still languishing inside the relegation zone.

Meanwhile Leicester have been on a downward spiral, only halted on Monday when they produced a performance reminiscent of last season to defeat Liverpool and pull themselves two points clear of the drop.

With just three points separating 15th and 19th, Saturday's clash is another important one for both sides. It brings together two teams who seem to be reverting to their successful 2015-16 styles of play, despite three managerial changes between them over the past ten months.

Attack or defend on the flanks?

Whilst Leicester's starting eleven is easier to predict, Silva has a few selection headaches to contend with. Hull have been susceptible on the flanks this season and face two talented wide players in Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez on Saturday.

Silva could be tempted to utilise more defensive minded wide midfielders in Ahmed Elmohamady and the returning Sam Clucas to protect his full-backs. With 10 defeats in 11 on the road and without a goal in eight of the last nine, this would be the safer option.

However, Leicester have also found defending problematic this season and Silva could look to counter the Foxes with more attacking wide players in Kamil Grosicki and Lazar Markovic.

The two new signings have both impressed during their short tenures at the club and would be best placed to support the lone striker in the continued absence of Evandro.

Such a selection would allow Sam Clucas to take a more central role and sit on the dangerous passing ability of Danny Drinkwater in an intriguing engine room battle. Both sides are used to entertaining less possession, with Leicester in particular thriving off stealing the ball.

Yet with a handful of defensive-minded central midfielders, it is hard to predict who will dominate such a key area. Drinkwater and Tom Huddlestone in particular will look to run the tempo of the game.

Maguire and Ranocchia must work in tandem

Harry Maguire is a doubt for Hull in defence but could be rushed through the pain barrier to support Andrea Ranocchia with Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson both still out.

Yet Maguire may not enjoy his usual game of bringing the ball out of defence, with Shinji Okazaki like to pressurise him every time he touches the ball.

Maguire will also do well to pass on the danger of Jamie Vardy to Ranocchia. The Italian likes to sit deeper and has more pace to deal with the threat of the England international.

At the other end the lone striker of Oumar Niasse and Abel Hernandez will need support in midfield up against the powerful central defensive duo of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan.

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