Hull City against West Bromwich Albion may not be the most attractive fixture in the Premier League this weekend, though it will be an intriguing tactical contest as Mike Phelan and Tony Pulis pit their wits against each other.
Can Hull take their chances?
Many fans may perceive these two sides as some of the least glamourous within the top flight, yet both teams are more than capable of playing an excellent brand of football. Hull have always tried to play a short passing game but have come unstuck on many occasion this season against better quality players. West Brom see less of the ball than anyone, but proved on Monday night against Burnley that they are capable of fluid, free-flowing and fast football in the more attacking areas.
With an average of 45.8% and 40.6% respectively, neither side is used to controlling the tempo of Premier League matches. With Hull's home advantage and more adherent style of play, the onus will be on the Tigers to take control. The likes of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore may find they have more opportunity to pick a pass but Hull have struggled to convert many chances provided. With just four goals from open play this season and their two premier strikers injured, the back of the net has never seemed further away for Mike Phelan's men.
The likelihood is that a number of Hull attacks will break down and West Brom will have opportunities to counter-attack, a tactic they used to devastating affect against Burnley. With Salomon Rondon leading the line with his strength and movement, supported by the guile and nous of James Morrison and Matt Phillips, the hosts will have to ensure they get men back quickly to defend in numbers.
Will West Brom dominate the wide areas?
Hull's greatest weakness has come in their full-back positions. Numerous goals have been conceded from these positions and various opposing players have found drifting out wide has paid dividends. Victor Anichebe grabbed a double last week playing off the shoulder of first Josh Tymon and then Sam Clucas in the left-back position.
West Brom will certainly look at this as an area to target. Burnley's Matt Lowton will still be having nightmares about the evening Phillips gave him on Monday, whilst James Morrison created space at will to deliver dangerous crosses on a consistent basis. Andrew Robertson is doubtful for Hull so whoever fills in the two full-back positions will have to be on top of their game to prevent the Baggies in this area.
If Hull can close off these areas then the game could be decided in the engine room. Packed with experience and quality, it is going to be a real battle between six players in the middle of the pitch on Saturday afternoon. Whatever trio comes out on top could have a big influence in the final outcome of the game.