Predictions: Hull City v Manchester United – Premier League 2016/17

Hull City

This weekend, Manchester United will be looking to make it nine-points-from-nine against Hull City, and while many analysts expected this fixture to be the easiest of United’s opening triumvirate, it is slowly looking like the hardest. Hull started their campaign in similar form to United, scoring one less goal and conceding the same amount, picking up two wins. United did well against Southampton, but now Mike Phelan will be making a nostalgic appearance in the same ground as United for the first time in a while, and he will be more determined than ever to earn three points and Hull’s vacant managerial position. Visiting a newly promoted side with just 12 fit players would normally seem like a great opportunity, but will it be so for United? Matt Henderson, Elton Wolf, Nate Hyatt and I, Aaron Moniz, give their opinions on what to expect.

Matt Henderson: As everything is now seeming to take some kind of shape, my excitement grows. Five goals scored in two games is already a tenth of the way to reaching the amount of goals scored last season, and where things haven’t been perfect thus far it’s been a damn sight better than what we endured last season. As such, I am again confident heading into Saturday evening’s game against Hull. This is not to underestimate the Tigers, but just out of the confidence in United I have inherited over the summer and last three games. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is bidding to do what only one man has done before him and score in his opening four games in a Manchester United shirt, and you’d be a fool to bet against him doing so. The supporting cast has been a bit frugal thus far around him, but if the balance is right and chances can be turned to goals then the likes of Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney won’t be far behind him. I fully expect there to be few changes to the starting XI, as such I expect;

Starting XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw; Fellaini, Pogba; Mata, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic

I would much prefer Herrera and Mkhitaryan in ahead of Fellaini and Rooney, but it seems Mourinho does not share my vision, both will start on the bench. Hopefully, Marcus Rashford will get a good stint also, the pace he brings is refreshing and a useful weapon going forward. I firmly believe United will win against Hull, and I have faith it will be comfortable.

Score prediction: Hull City 1-3 Manchester United

Elton Wolf: Manchester United go into the third week of the season behind two great wins, and look to continue their winning streak as they visit Hull City this Saturday. After a successful win against Southampton last Friday, Jose Mourinho’s side look to provide United fans with yet another great outing, and this time, they face a Hull City side also on a two game winning streak. The majority of the time I agree with the saying “if it works, don’t change it”, but I feel that this is Mourinho’s first opportunity to rotate certain players in the squad and give some players a rest.

Starting XI: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Pogba, Herrera; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Memphis; Ibrahimovic

Starting from the back, whilst Valencia looks in great form to the right, this is a good opportunity to give Matteo Darmian some game time and see how he can play in Mourinho’s new system. In midfield, I believe that Fellaini should be given a rest even though he has been a key player in the Manchester United side. I expect Hull City to be the team who play more defensively, thus why I feel this is a good opportunity for Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to play together and provide a threat to the opposition at every possible moment. Up top I believe Henrikh Mkhitaryan NEEDS his opportunity to show his talents, the same goes for Memphis, who needs the patience to get going. Finally, Ibrahimovic deserves to stay in the starting XI if he is going to provide the same world-class magic week in, week out.

Prediction: Hull City 0-4 Manchester United

Nate Hyatt: United’s trip to Hull presents the first real opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s men to slip up after their perfect start to the season. A subdued, but scintillating, start to the season has seen hope renewed among the largest fan base in the world. Lifting the Community Shield and winning their opening two Premier League matches have United eyeing a 3rd successive win to start their season. Besides a couple small changes to his starting XI, Jose Mourinho has trusted the same players to continue to be his first point of attack this season. World record signing, Paul Pogba and goalkeeper, David de Gea should be the first names on the team sheet with a back four of Valencia, Bailly, Blind, and Shaw in front of the Spaniard. Next to the Frenchman in midfield, Fellaini should be given a chance to continue his fine form. In attack, United will look to Zlatan to continue finding the back of the net with Martial, Rooney, and make his first United start, Mkhitaryan (taking Mata’s place).

Starting XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw; Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic

Hull City will look to continue their inspired form beating Champions, Leicester and then Swansea in the Premier League, and then win midweek against Exeter in the second round of the League Cup. Caretaker manager, and former Manchester United assistant, Mike Phelan has been a breath of fresh air to the ailing club, and a win against United on Saturday may well earn him the permanent Manager’s position, which is already highly deserved whether he wins or loses against Mourinho’s side.

Prediction: Hull City 0-3 Manchester United

Aaron Moniz: Mike Phelan’s Hull have defied the odds beyond all expectations so far, and I get the feeling United could have a stumbling block in front of them. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Hull will have this form when they come up against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, meaning it isn’t even an advantage that they’re playing so well. In the lineup, expect the back four to remain the same, with the same midfield. Mourinho said he wouldn’t be rotating much before the break. The only likely change would be Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Juan Mata, for a tactical threat to stretch the pitch.

Starting XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw; Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic

Hull will give United a run for their money, without a doubt- they’re very tough to play and will be hard to break down, especially at their ground, which is a notoriously difficult venue to visit. Hull’s midfield looks promising, with Tom Huddlestone and youngster Sam Clucas, who I’ve been impressed with- United will have to win the midfield battle. Nonetheless, I fancy Mourinho to be completely set on the third win before the international break because United will return with a derby and a lot of fitness problems. Solely due to quality up front, I expect United to grab a win and cement their place at the top of the table, proving in the process that Hull isn’t another Leicester City.

Prediction: Hull City 1-2 Manchester United

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