Bournemouth against Hull City will not be one of those fixtures that sends you to the brink of despair. With six tireless central midfielders on display, expect an energetic contest between two sides likely to be fighting for survival this season.
The engine room battle
It is in those central areas that the match is likely to be won and lost. The smallest ground in the top-flight will offer very little space and any that is found will more than likely be closed down quickly by the opponents' engine room. Bournemouth boast Harry Arter and Andrew Surman in the middle of the park, with the latter covering a greater distance than any other individual in the league last season. The addition of Jack Wilshere offers a touch of class, though the Arsenal loanee has failed to play a full 90 minutes in his last 20 matches.
Hull's pivotal trio include Sam Clucas, Tom Huddlestone and David Meyler. Clucas in particular has been a revelation since reverting from a wide position into defensive midfield and he will be tasked with picking up the endless runs of Arter. The Tigers' midfield arguably have a more defensive outlook than their opponents and the ownness is likely to fall on the hosts to take the game to Hull.
Width against compactness
Both sides entertain flair and pace on the wings, though set up in contrasting fashions. Whilst Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas and Jordan Ibe prefer to hug the touchline and deliver crosses, Hull's Robert Snodgrass and Adama Diomande will float inside and look to join the lone striker in attack. The Cherries' tactic allows them to overload the wings and Hull's central defensive partnership of Jake Livermore and Curtis Davies will have to be strong in the air to fend off the wide deliveries. The visitors will look to go more central, although full-backs Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady will offer options on the flanks.
Whilst Bournemouth employ a short passing game, Hull are likely to use a more direct approach. The hosts' midfielders will have to be creative if they are to provide chances for their lone striker, who will be either Callum Wilson or Josh King, as they attempt to break down two disciplined banks of four and five behind the ball. Hull's plan will be to break out fast and counter-attack off the strength and hold up play of Abel Hernandez.
The scene is set for an enthralling contest on the South Coast.