Swansea have edge over Hull
In this most unpredictable of Premier League seasons, the one thing we can be sure of is that anybody can beat anybody on their day.
Take Hull City, for instance. One week after losing at home to the then bottom club, Crystal Palace, they beat high-flying Liverpool 3-1 at home, a result that launched them from the edge of the relegation battle into the relative comfort zone of lower mid-table.
Not surprisingly, Steve Bruce’s side then found Arsenal too hot to handle at the Emirates, but punters write off teams like Hull at their peril.
So although, on paper, they should get nothing out of their trip to Swansea on Monday night, it would be foolish to be too bullish with any predictions. Coral go 4/6 Swansea, 4/1 Hull (11/4 the draw) and that looks about right, but this is no game to have the mortgage on.
With the bottom three clubs all changing their managers and hoping to spark revivals, teams like Hull have even more reason to be looking over their shoulders. Coral still rate the Humberside outfit as 5/2 shots to go down and they will certainly need to improve their away form if they are going to stay out of trouble.
They go to South Wales having lost six of their seven games on the road this campaign, one of the worst away records in the Premiership. Another area for concern is their goal threat – so far they have scored less than one a game.
Swansea, though only one point above Hull, are not expected to be fighting relegation (Coral go 50/1), in part because they do have goals in them. Boss Michael Laudrup may not be able to call upon the services of injured strikers Michu, Wilfried Bony and Alvaro Vasquez, but there is good back-up going forward from the likes of Pablo Hernandez (11/4 to get on the scoresheet, 8/1 first or last) and Jonjo Shelvey (15/8 and 13/2), who made a big impact in Swansea’s 3-0 win over in-form Newcastle last Wednesday.
Laudrup and his players will have one eye on their crunch Europa League tie next Thursday – they will be desperate not to throw away their opportunity to play in the knock-out stages after starting the competition so well – but this may still be one of those games that actually goes to form.
There might only be a goal in it, though – Coral go 5/1 it finished 1-0 and 8/1 it ends 2-1.