Another important weekend of matches in the Championship get underway on Friday evening when Hull City entertain Swansea City to kick off the set of games that take us to the three-quarter mark in the second tier campaign.
Hull had a January transfer deadline day to forget and are plunging down the table as a result. They will be wanting to arrest that slump here but Swansea will be out for the points for their own play-off push so this looks a competitive way to start the weekend.
As a rule the aim is to come out of the January window stronger than when you went into it but there is no way that the Tigers can claim to have done that. Losing Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen was bad enough but doing it so late in the window that they only replacement they could get for them was Marcus Maddison was borderline criminal. In saying that, no club in the bottom half of the division can turn down the money they got for Bowen.
January wasn’t exactly going well for Hull to begin with. Since New Year’s Day when they edged out Sheffield Wednesday, they have lost five of their last six Championship outings, shipping 11 goals in their last four matches. With just four goals in their last seven in the league things are going wrong at both ends of the pitch for Hull, and if it doesn’t change soon then they could yet get reeled in by the relegation zone.
It hasn’t been the best of runs for Swansea City either in recent times and as a result they have slipped six points adrift of the play-off places in the second tier, so they will be eager to arrest their slide and get back to winning ways here. The concern for Swansea is that their previous four matches which have all resulted in them failing to win, have all come against what look like inferior opposition, which isn’t ideal.
Unlike their opponents here, Swansea did have a good January in the transfer window but it hasn’t been reflected on the field of play just yet. They have only scored six goals in their last eight matches so it would be pretty obvious where they need to improve if they are going to return to the top six. Scoring goals has been an issue for Swansea all season though. Only Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic have scored fewer than them this term.
Hull City have a lengthy injury list going into this match. The likes of Martin Samuelsen, Jon Toral, Jordy de Wijs, Herbie Kane, Reece Burke and Eric Lichaj are all on the sidelines. They could have Ryan Tafazolli and Matthew Pennington available to them though.
Swansea are also missing a couple of key components to their side with George Byers missing while Mike van der Hoorn could be a huge loss to them as well. Rhian Brewster has a stage to showcase his talents.
These are two out of form sides. Swansea City started the season in good touch, especially on the road but they have faded fast and their form away from home is very ordinary indeed. They have only won one of their last nine away games in all competitions, which was at Luton just before Christmas and they were second best for much of that game. Hull City have completely collapsed at the minute so the match outcome is not one to bet on for me.
If pushed I would go with Swansea who at least have some personnel left but I think the better bet is under 2.5 goals. As I eluded to above, Hull have four goals in their last seven and Swansea six in their last eight so these are not free scoring sides. Confidence is going to be low for both teams which is an issue here so I’m a little surprised that we can get even money on under 2.5 goals. It would appear to have every chance given the scoring difficulties both are having.
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