Coral preview Premier League northeast and Midlands matches
Coral writers preview three Premier League fixtures featuring Midlands and northeast sides, as Hull City host Leicester City, Stoke City welcome West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa entertain Sunderland.
Hull City v Leicester City
This duo have never met in the Premier League or even a top-flight fixture, but have faced each other 12 times in the Championship in the last decade.
Both clubs may find themselves in the second tier next season, with Leicester (9/5 for victory at the KC Stadium) currently propping up the table, and Hull (6/5 favourites) only one point above the drop zone. Therefore, there is so much at stake in this match.
The Tigers and Foxes are in dreadful form, with just five wins between them from their combined 36 games all season so far, so a draw at 9/4, which is how their last meeting ended, is a good shout.
But hosts Hull can take heart in their Boxing Day victory over Sunderland, and will hope their top scorer Nikica Jelavic, who netted in that match, can fire again. The Croatian is 5/4 to net anytime, and 5/1 to get the last goal.
Leicester, meanwhile, can call upon David Nugent, who hit a hat-trick against the Tigers two seasons ago. He is 15/8 in the anytime market and 10/1 for two or more.
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion
The Potters are undefeated in their last four matches against the Baggies, which is why they are odds-on favourites at 10/11 for victory.
However, Stoke have not won in their last four at home in this head-to-head, and West Brom are tempting 3/1 chances to take all three points here. Neither side have managed to score in their previous two meetings at the Britannia, so take tempting odds of 8/1 for a 0-0 result, and 12/5 just for a draw.
Mark Hughes’ men have claimed some big results this term, beating the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and, most recently, Everton on Boxing Day, but have struggled against the lesser teams. As a result, they still find themselves in the bottom half of the table in 11th.
But Stoke will be hoping former Barcelona star Bojan Krcic, who netted the sole goal (a controversial penalty) against the Toffees, can carry on his form. The Spaniard is 2/1 to net anytime.
Baggies top scorer this term Saido Berahino, meanwhile, is a 7/4 chance in the anytime market to end his goal drought that stretches back to his first senior England call-up.
Aston Villa v Sunderland
Villa have not lost in their last six meetings with Sunderland, and are 27/20 favourites for victory again.
Three of those matches were draws, though, and that outcome once more is priced at 21/10.
Gus Poyet’s men have not lost in their last four away matches, since their humiliating 8-0 defeat to Southampton, and are tempting 9/4 chances for victory.
The hosts will be without Gabriel Agbonlahor, who netted the winner against Sunderland away last term, but can rely on now-fit Christian Benteke, who recently scored against Manchester United, and hit a hat-trick in this fixture in 2012/13. The Belgian is 6/5 to strike anytime, and 22/1 to get another treble.
For the Black Cats, Steven Fletcher is their best chance, with the Scot a 6/4 shout to be on target. Both sides lacking guile and goals, so a 0-0 is well worth considering at 7/1, especially as Sunderland are the division’s draw specialists after sharing the spoils 10 times already.