Can Chelsea continue their push for the Premier League title by seeing off Hull this weekend? The Blues are returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since getting permission to renovate their ground. This is also their first home game since the fall out between Diego Costa and Antonio Conte, so will the forward miss out again here? Or will the striker-less formation continue after featuring last weekend?
Hull come here buoyed by a few good results, with new boss Marco Silva making a good impression. The Tigers have won two of their last three games under their new manager, but this is by far his toughest test yet. They face an EFL Cup semi-final in midweek after this clash, but expect them to prioritise the league as they chase top flight survival. Will that see them claiming a shock result at the Bridge? That would certainly be a blow to the Blues’ hopes of regaining the title.
Team News: Costa likely to be frozen out again
Chelsea come here with no injury worries, they should have a fully fit squad to choose from. However, it’s unlikely that Diego Costa has done enough for selection. His tantrum and links with a move to China threatened to derail the Blues’ push for the title. Losing the Premier League’s top scorer isn’t exactly something that Conte is welcoming, but he’s dealing with the situation well. It wouldn’t be surprising if the boss goes with the exact same 11 who won 3-0 at Leicester last weekend, which included no striker, with Eden Hazard as the false nine. That at least gives Willian some deserved game time, along with Pedro.
Hull started the season with a depleted squad, and that has haunted them all campaign. They’re without at least five players for this game. Dieumerci Mbonkani and Ahmed Elmohamady are away at the African Nations Cup, which hasn’t affected Chelsea this season. The Tigers selection woes are made even worse as Jake Livermore is set for a switch to West Brom, so he won’t be available here. However, the incredible £10million fee that the Baggies are paying should make up for that. The Tigers are expected to line up in a 3-5-2 formation here.
Hull are looking up after a few good results, they won 3-1 at home to Bournemouth last weekend to boost their hopes of survival. They also claimed an FA Cup win over relegation rivals Swansea. That has given Silva a strong start at the KCOM, he’s continuing their impressive record in the cups, as they’ve already earned a spot in the last four of the EFL Cup.
A huge problem for the Tigers here is their awful away form. They’re coming to Stamford Bridge as one of the worst travelling sides in the top flight. Hull have just one away win all season, losing 80% of their trips so far, while they’ve failed to win in any of their last nine league away days. They’ve taken just 0.4 points per game on their travels, giving them the third worst away record in the league. That shouldn’t trouble the Blues, who have won 90% of their home matches so far. The visitors have an awful defensive record home and away, as they’ve conceded a goal in their last 19 Premier League outings.
Chelsea v Hull Head to Head
Chelsea have a strong record against the Tigers of late, winning both matches during their last full season in the top flight. They’ve now won five straight against their next opponents, while they’re yet to taste defeat against Hull in any encounter. The first meeting with Hull this season was the debut of Conte’s 3-4-3 formation with the Blues. They won 2-0 at the KCOM, which kicked off their excellent 13-game winning run. Can a victory here have a similar effect?
- Hull 0-2 Chelsea, Oct 2016
- Hull 2-3 Chelsea, Mar 2015
- Chelsea 2-0 Hull, Dec 2014
- Hull 0-2 Chelsea, Jan 2014
- Chelsea 2-0 Hull, Aug 2013
- Chelsea to win to nil – 4/5 with BetVictor
- Eden Hazard to score any time – 21/20 with Coral
Chelsea are heavy favourites to win this one, priced at odds of just 1/5 with Sky Bet. That’s hardly surprising, given Hull’s awful away record. They’re going up against the side with the best points per game record at home in the league. A victory here would see Chelsea move on to 30 points from 11 matches at the Bridge. Given the gulf in class between these two teams, it’s easy to see the hosts recording a big win. However, it’s not worth backing them on the win market, but there are other value bets to consider on this game.
Chelsea come here having conceded just 0.6 goals per game at home, while they’ve kept a clean sheet in 60% of their outings at Stamford Bridge. They’ve also recorded a shutout in five of their last seven in the Premier League, and it’s easy to see them improving that record on Sunday evening. Hull come here averaging just 0.6 goals per game on the road. Half of their away matches have seen them fail to score, so it’s easy to see them struggling at the Bridge. We’re backing a home win to nil, which is big at 4/5 with BetVictor.
Chelsea are set to come here without Costa, given the striker’s recent troubles. That should see Hazard playing as the false nine here, and we think the Belgian will revel in that role. Playing with him up front worked against Leicester, and we see it causing problems for a Hull team who concede 2.4 goals per game on the road. That should see Hazard getting plenty of chances up front, and we’re backing him to make an impact. He’s 21/20 with Coral to score at any time on Sunday.