Hull City visit the Bridge for the opening day of the season tomorrow. The early Kick Off means if either side win then they go top for at least a couple of hours. Ancelotti will be feeling pressure to get the season started on the right foot and install confidence in the fans and team alike. A good start doesn’t always indicate good things, Scolari got off to a terrific start but then faltered later on. Getting a big win isn’t necessary, just A win, it was this fixture last season that proved the end for Big Phil.
The Tigers, fresh from avoiding the drop on the last day of the season, will be looking to get the season off to as good a start as the last one. Last season Hull were superb away to the big four, drawing with us and Liverpool, losing by a goal to Man United and memorably beating Arsenal (and Spurs). They were as high as third for some parts of a remarkable rollercoaster Premier League debut season that culminated with them escaping relegation on the last day. Had Damien Duff not scored that Own Goal for Newcastle, Hull would have been relegated in their place.
In every match under Ancelotti so far we’ve bagged two goals, theres been a lot of talk on the new formation, and it’s hard to predict who will start where.
Personally I don’t feel Essien is disciplined enough to play the holding role of the diamond, he seems too keen to push up and attack. I’d stick with Mikel there and Essien in the centre with Malouda, whether Lampard best suits the top or the middle of the diamond remains to be seen, but the chances are he’ll start there ahead of Ballack or Deco. Drogba at times found himself alone up front in the first half last Sunday, but having two up front worked well for our second goal, when Drog went wide it was Anelka who was picked up in the middle, leaving Lampard in space at the back. Hopefully we’ll see more moves that offer extra support in the box.
Sheva looked off the pace out in America and I can see him not even being on the bench tomorrow, Sturridge might also not get a spot, Ballack will at worst be on the bench and I’d assume the same for Deco and Kalou, dependant on whether Ancelotti see’s Belletti as a potential holding midfielder he may get a spot on the bench, and with three attacking players already on it, the chances are it’ll be balanced with three defensive players.
Ferreira and Joe Cole are both out for tomorrow and Zhirkov is unlikely to be fit, we’ve no suspensions.
Cech, A. Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Bosingwa, Mikel, Essien, Malouda, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba
Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Alex, Belletti, Ballack, Deco, Kalou
If Jose Bosingwa features it’s his 50th game for us
A Frank Lampard brace would give him 132 for us, making him our fifth highest ever scorer, surpassing Jimmy Greaves (131).
Hull City news
Giovanni was the Tigers’ top scorer last season and isn’t shy about hitting the ball from range, which is one of the area’s I’m most critical of our defence, I don’t think we close players down quick enough. Highly rated defender Michael Turner will have his work cut out against two strikers. Stephen Hunt is another one to watch out for, albeit an entirely different reason. Jimmy Bullard is their most notable absentee.
Hull have added depth to their squad this summer, with the additions of Olofinjana from Stoke, Mouyokolo from Boulogne and on loan from Villareal, Antidore. In the last couple of days they also signed Stephen Hunt and Kamel Ghilas, but have announced they won’t be signing Henri Camera. Dean Windass and Michael Bridges have now both left the club.
The referee will be Alan Wiley. He was in charge at Stamford Bridge for our 3-1 win against Fulham (1Y 0R) and 2-1 F.A Cup win against Ipswich (3Y 0R). Our only away match he was in charge of was the 1-0 win against Wigan (3Y 0R). He officiated the 2-1 win for Hull against Arsenal in the league last season too.
Last season we won 3-0 away from home, courtesy of a goals from Lamps and French duo Anelka and Malouda.
Our last meeting was the start of February, where a goalless draw was to be Scolari’s last match in charge.
Form Guide (Last six matches)
We had the same form for just home matches as we did for home and away at the end of last season, winning five and drawing one.
Hull finished last season with five defeats and a draw from their last six matches for home and away matches. For just away matches, they won one, drew one and lost four.
Predicted Score – 3-0 Chelsea. No disrespect to Hull, but I feel I think we’ll get a couple of goals in the first half, take off the pressure in the second half but add a third during the half. Their attack looks to be lacking a bit of bite, hence Brown being after Real Madrid’s Negredo.