Premier League final day: Hull have to beat Man Utd to survive
Having lost their last 10 meetings in all competitions with Manchester United, dating back to 1975 in the old Division 2, the odds are firmly against Hull City going into the final day of the Premier League season. They are odds-on at 1/6 with Coral to go down and 4/1 to remarkably stay up.
The Tigers sit in 18th place in the table, and are in a straight fight with Newcastle United to stay in the top flight. Only a win (2/1) will do for Hull, who are two points behind the Magpies but with a seven goal advantage, and hope that their fellow northeast club lose or draw.
But coincidentally, they find themselves in almost exactly the same situation they were in on the last day of the 2008/09 campaign too, as they also faced Man Utd at the KC Stadium and Newcastle were their relegation rivals.
It turned out that Alan Shearer-led Toon went down that season, despite the East Yorkshire outfit losing 1-0, as the Tigers were ahead of Newcastle that time.
Watch then-Hull boss Phil Brown breaking into song after guiding his team to safety…
You can back Man Utd, who can not be moved from fourth position unless they score a ridiculous amount of goals and Arsenal lose, at 6/5 for victory, and 8/1 to do so by that scoreline once more.
But Paul Duffen, who was Hull chairman from 2007-10, is confident Hull are fated to beat the drop again, saying: “It was a slightly different position [back in 2009] because we were above Newcastle going into that last game, so provided we at least matched their score we were going to be fine.
“We lost to Man United on the day and then had to wait for the result of the Newcastle game. I think Damien Duff scored an own goal which kept us up and sent them down.
“But there is quite an auspicious omen for Hull City, which is that when we won the play-off final in 2008, seven years ago, it was the 24th of May and it was the 24th of May a year later when we played Man United at home and stayed up.
“It’s the 24th of May again this year and we’re playing Man United again at home and our opponents will again be Newcastle, our rivals in terms of relegation, who are again playing a side in claret and blue (West Ham United). They were playing Aston Villa in 2009 so there are some omens in Hull City’s favour.
“Clearly the big challenge they have got is that they are two points adrift and it’s not in their own hands,” he added. “Of course the stats will tell you that Steve Bruce has never beaten Manchester United and it’s going to be a very difficult task.
“Obviously if Louis van Gaal decides to put in a team of Man United youngsters, and no one should ever underestimate Manchester United youngsters, it may be different.”
So, while Hull will no doubt be giving it their all, with a full-strength team, that are available, it will be the final chance that some fringe players in Van Gaal’s squad will get to impress him.
One star in particular, Radamel Falcao, has been highly tipped not to extend his spell at Old Trafford, after only managing just four goals since joining from Monaco on loan. However, his determination has not been questioned, and he was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in his last home game against Arsenal.
Intriguingly, Falcao’s great-grandfather it turns out was an Englishman from Yorkshire town Selby, which is just less than 40 miles east of Hull via the M62 and A63. The Colombian hitman may be spurred on from the emotions of returning to his roots, so can be backed at 7/4 to net anytime and give Van Gaal plenty to think about this summer.
Other forward threats that could be given a chance include Robin van Persie (6/4), Angel Di Maria (11/4) and James Wilson (15/8), who bagged a brace against the Tigers last season.
Watch Wilson score his first two senior goals…
For Hull, they will be hoping to put the recent Jake Livermore allegations and their three straight losses behind them, and rely on the likes of club top scorer this term Nikica Jelavic and Dame N’Doye. They are both priced at 11/4 in the anytime market.
Former United players Robert Brady, Paul McShane and James Chester could all also feature for ex-Red Devils captain Steve Bruce, who will be hoping his old club will do him a favour.
Betting tip: Radamel Falcao scores anytime @ 7/4