Hull City v Leicester City pre-match analysis: Do the new Foxes pose more problems than resolutions?

Leicester begin their defence of the Premier League title at the KCOM stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

Hull City v Leicester City pre-match analysis: Do the new Foxes pose more problems than resolutions?
photo; getty

Formerly known as the "tinkerman", the self-proclaimed "thinkerman" will have to do just that as Claudio Ranieri faces a selection dilemma ahead of their visit to Hull City.

Who's in and who's out for the champions?

The Foxes have done well to keep hold of all of their key players bar N'golo Kante over the summer, but have added strength in depth as they face the added matches that come with Champions League qualification.

It would be no surprise to see Ranieri name the same team that were defeated 2-1 by Manchester United in the Community Shield on Sunday. Though fans will be keen to see the "new Kante" in Nampalys Mendy and exciting speedster Ahmed Musa.

Ranieri then has to decide on a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation. If he goes with the former it will see last season's top goalscorer Jamie Vardy partnered up front by other Musa or Shinji Okazaki. Musa could be the preferred option and the forward combination will provide an extremely fast attack that will test the legs of a Hull defence depleted by injuries.

That formation would see Marc Albrighton offer width, whilst Mendy and Danny Drinkwater hold the engine room. Yet the introduction of Musa may cause Riyad Mahrez to consider his forward runs with the new signing unlikely to venture back for his defensive duties.

The Foxes could go with a 4-3-3 formation that will see Vardy, Musa and Mahrez all play up front. The trio are all capable of pulling wide and offering width, allowing Drinkwater, Mendy and Andy King to flood the midfield and suffocate Hull's key players Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore.

Will Leicester employ a similar tactic this season? (Photo : Talking Tactics)
Will Leicester employ a similar tactic this season? (Photo : Talking Tactics)

What about the Tigers?

An added challenge for Leicester will be how they cope against a newly promoted team. The champions preferred to give up possession last season and hit teams on the counter-attack. Hull do like to pass the ball but are unlikely to possess the quality to keep hold of it for long periods of time and could sit back despite being the home team.

Such a tactic will pose a question to Leicester that they are likely to commonly face during their title defence. Have they got the nous and guile to break down opposing defences who play with a deeper line at the back?

Hull's main route to goal will be via the flanks. They will look to Huddlestone and Livermore to feed the creative duo of Ahmed Elmohamady and Robert Snodgrass, with the pair tasked to deliver the quality for the aerial threat of Adama Diomande and finishing ability of Abel Hernandez. Don't be surprised to see some unfamiliar names play a part in Hull's returning game to the top flight, due to their ongoing injury crisis and lack of transfer action keeping numbers low at the KCOM stadium.