Team news & predicted line-ups for Hull City v Leicester City
Last year’s unlikely Premier League champions Leicester City kick off the new campaign with an away game at newly-promoted Hull City, who came up through the Championship play-offs.
Leicester have lost key man N’Golo Kanté but striker Jamie Vardy was persuaded to sign a new contract at the club despite having an offer from Arsenal, who are trying to buy Riyad Mahrez.
For Hull the joy of promotion wore off quickly, with a lack of signings prompting the departure of manager Steve Bruce, who has yet to be replaced, while key midfielder Mohamed Diamé elected to drop back down to the Championship to sign for Newcastle United.
The first game of the Premier League season is always exciting for daily fantasy football players, so what is the key pre-match information for this curtain-raising match?
Hull City fantasy player to watch
Hernández is the key player for Hull and if they are to survive in the Premier League this season, he is going to have to score the goals that keep the Tigers up. However, the Uruguayan endured a long spell without a goal last season and he is relatively unproven in the Premier League, having scored just four goals in 25 top-flight appearances for Hull previously.
Service to Hernández will be key and Robertson’s crosses will be a key asset for Hull, with the striker looking to get on the end of precise balls aimed at the penalty spot from deep on the wing.
Hull City team news
Caretaker manager Mike Phelan has a string of key players missing, with Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce, Michael Dawson and Moses Odubajo all unavailable due to long-term injuries, while Harry Maguire and Shaun Maloney also rated as doubtful for Saturday’s match.
Eldin Jakupović will therefore continue in goal after impressing in the play-offs, while Jake Livermore may be called into action as an emergency centre-back, with Abel Hernández shouldering the goalscoring burden after hitting 21 goals for Hull last season.
Bruce often favoured a back three during his time in charge of Hull but Phelan is expected to opt for a straightforward 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 on Saturday, with David Meyler and Tom Huddlestone lining up in the engine room and Adama Diomandé partnering Hernández in attack.
Hull are strong down their flanks with Andrew Robertson boasting excellent crossing ability and Robert Snodgrass offering a strong goal threat with his long range shooting.
Predicted starting line-up for Hull City
Leicester City fantasy player to watch
Daily fantasy football players were spoiled for choice if they wanted to pick Leicester City players last season, but prices will be adjusted for the likes of Mahrez and Vardy for the new campaign.
Mahrez remains a very intriguing selection for this match in particular, especially if he elects to drift, since Hull’s likely right-back Ahmed Elmohamady is not exactly known for his defensive abilities.
The Algerian winger will therefore have plenty of chances to shine on the ball, with Ranieri insisting he will be staying at the King Power Stadium despite interest from various clubs.
Mahrez scored 17 goals and he also made 11 assists for Leicester last season. While it is harsh to expect him to match those highly impressive figures this year, Hull away is a chance for him to get off to a flying start in the new Premier League season.
Leicester City team news
Ranieri’s 4-4-2 was seen as a throwback at the start of last season but it was unbelievably effective as long balls for Jamie Vardy caused havoc.
It will be the same plan again this season, but with teams expected to sit deep and deny Vardy room in behind, it will be fascinating to see if the Foxes have a workable Plan B, especially as more pace has been added to the squad in the form of new arrival Ahmed Musa.
Robert Huth is serving a suspension that rolls over from the end of last season, so Luis Hernández is expected to make his league debut at centre-back alongside captain Wes Morgan, while Kanté’s direct replacement Nampalys Mendy could also go straight into the Foxes’ team at the expense of Andy King.
Claudio Ranieri is not expected to tinker too much with his side until the Champions League group stage starts though, so Leicester’s starting XI will likely have a very familiar look about it on Saturday.
Predicted starting line-up for Leicester City
Can the Champions begin their Premier League title defence with a victory?