Sports Betting Weekly

Hull City v Manchester United

When: Sunday, 24 May 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: The KC Stadium
Hull City go into their final fixture of the season knowing that only a win will give them any hope of survival as they do battle with a Manchester United side who have already secured a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

Following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, Hull are two points off safety going into the last game of the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier League campaign, and they must also hope that Newcastle United fail to beat West Ham United at St James’ Park.

Newcastle’s dismal recent form has seen their goal difference take a hammering, to the point that the Magpies are now seven goals worse off than Steve Bruce’s side, meaning that if Hull win and Newcastle draw, it will be the Toon that get relegated in 18th place.

The nature of the opposition won’t exactly send waves of optimism around the city of Hull as – fresh from the 1-1 draw with Arsenal which secured that all-important Champions League spot after a one-year absence – Manchester United will look to end their season on a high.

It’s been a mixed campaign for Louis van Gaal’s men, as while the minimum requirement of returning to the top four was achieved, having spent in the region of £150 million over the summer, perhaps the red half of Manchester could be forgiven for expecting more – especially in the cups.

A horrific 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup was followed by a tactically woeful performance in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Arsenal, who were nowhere near their best yet comfortably beat a United side who have often proved a thorn in their side, and at Old Trafford too.

Ultimately, however, the main objective was achieved – and the calibre of player Manchester United can sign now that they’re back in the mix with Europe’s elite will be significantly higher than it would have been had they missed out, irrespective of how much money they threw at the problem.

For Hull, the quality of player they can sign will depend entirely on whether they face trips to Everton and Arsenal next season or Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town in the Championship.

Things are looking rather bleak for Bruce, who, in fairness, has seen his side fall down the league primarily due to injuries to key players like Robert Snodgrass, Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame. All three have spent prolonged periods of time in the treatment room this season, with Diame rarely leaving it and Snodgrass still there for this game.

There is also a bad omen that Hull have to overcome in the sense that Bruce has not defeated his former club as a manager in 17 years and 21 attempts – drawing four and losing 17; the most recent being a 3-0 thumping during the reverse fixture at Old Trafford earlier this season.

One boost for Hull is that United may feel inclined to play a lot of younger players such as Paddy McNair, James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Andreas Pereira now that they’ve secured Champions League football for next year, but with third place still technically available – albeit with the chances of United taking this spot looking unlikely in the extreme – this remains to be seen.

Perhaps understandably, the Red Devils go into this fixture as overwhelming favourites at 23/20, with Hull listed at 13/5. A draw, meanwhile – which would send the Tigers down – is on hand at 11/4.

Hull’s best chance of scoring lies with Jelavic, who has left Tigers fans pondering what might have been had he not missed 12 games of the Premier League season, given he has eight goals in 25 matches he’s played. Jelavic is is 7/1 to score first on Sunday or 12/5 to score anytime.

As for United, Radamel Falcao will want to end his difficult season on a high and try to show the United fans that he still has something to offer. He is 6/1 to score first or 9/1 to break the deadlock.