Men's Team

Hull v Man City: Talking Points

Hull v Man City: Talking Points
Fernandinho, wounded Tigers and formation considerations feature in our Hull v Man City talking points.

1 Ferna return

Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho is still third on City's Premier League minutes played list despite sitting out the last three games through suspension (only Aleks Kolarov and Claudio Bravo are ahead of him). That leads you to suspect he will return to the starting XI against Hull, but two successive wins against Watford and Arsenal in his absence means his place is not a foregone conclusion. If he does play, you can guarantee energy, tenacity and ability - and with over 20 days off he should be absolutely flying.

2 Wounded Tigers

Hull are propping up the table and on a difficult run of form, with just one Premier League win since August. Still, the recent trip to Leicester proved that teams can raise their game at any point and City must be wary.

3 Forward thinking

Pep Guardiola helped turn around the game against Arsenal with shrewd tactical tweaks at half time. After using Raheem Sterling as a spearhead in the first half, City reverted to having two deeper lying forwards in Sterling and Leroy Sane, moving inside and outside the Gunners' defence. That allowed Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to exert more influence in midfield and both provided assists.  Will Pep stick with that formation? Or will he bring Kelechi Iheanacho back into the strikeforce? It's always an intriguing guessing game!

4 Case for defence

The manager admitted he felt sorry for John Stones and Bacary Sagna after both were left out of the starting line up against the Gunners. The reasoning was not to change the side that kept a clean sheet against Watford, despite the obvious quality that Stones and Sagna possess. Does that theory hold for the Tigers? Or will Pep choose to switch it up at the back?

5 Christmas roll

The Watford and Arsenal games were the first back-to-back league wins for City since September, which was the tail end of that blistering 10 game streak at the start of the season. If the Blues manage to reel off another run like that, it will be very much game on at the top of the Premier League going into 2017.