Hull City V Manchester United
KO: 12:45 PM
Referee: Michael Oliver
Hull City welcome champions Manchester United at the KC Stadium and former United captain and current Hull City manager Steve Bruce will love to get one over his former club after 19 unsuccessful attempts. Hull have conceded just three goals at the KC Stadium this season, so United will have their work cut out.
Steve Bruce could field the same starting XI for the fourth Barclays Premier League match in a row. With Robbie Brady unlikely to be fit to face his former club, Bruce may keep faith with a side that has drawn against Swansea, Stoke and West Brom. Sone Aluko and Stephen Quinn are both certain absentees. Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after the Manchester United midfielder had surgery to cure a troublesome wrist injury. United manager David Moyes said on Friday the operation was a possibility due to Fellaini's separate back complaint. Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck is a doubt for Manchester United. Welbeck suffered a bang on the knee during Saturday's win over West Ham and, though fears of a repeat of the injury that ruled him out earlier in the season have been dispelled, he is in a race to be fit for the KC Stadium. Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie are unlikely to be involved.
Probable Starting XI:
Hull City: Mcgregor, Elmohamady, Figueroa, Davies, Bruce, Chester, Livermore, Hudlestone, Meyler, Graham, Sagbo.
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Jones, Evans, Januzaj, Cleverley, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Welbeck.
Steve Bruce: "Getting 20 points by Christmas - if someone had said that to us at the start, then we would have been delighted. We are halfway there, but we have to repeat the whole thing in the second half of the season. It is always difficult for a newly-promoted club, but we are making a fist of it and you can see from the way they (his players) play that they are a delight to work with. They roll their sleeves up, have a go and they are enjoying playing in the Premier League. Hopefully we can bring one or two in to give a bit of quality in January. But overall I am delighted.”
David Moyes: "What Wayne is doing is making the others play well because he is playing well. He has turned himself into a real team player. With the assists for the team and the goals, his all-round contribution has been fantastic. You go through the years and look at people like Ryan Giggs and the advice he gave to Wayne Rooney. Wayne has now to give it to Adnan Januzaj and the new players coming up. He has a big responsibility to show the next generation the standards that Manchester United set and what you have to do every week if you are going to play for this club."
1. Hull have conceded only three goals in eight Barclays Premier League home games this season. In fact, Hull have the best home defence in the Premier League this season (three goals conceded).
2. Manchester United have won the last seven matches in all competitions against Hull. The last time this fixture was played Wayne Rooney scored all four in a 4-0 win for the Red Devils at Old Trafford in January 2010.
3. Manchester United have won 16 of the last 17 games they have played on December 26, with the defeat away Middlesbrough in 2002 the exception.
4. Hull’s only previous Premier League game on December 26 was a 5-1 defeat at Man City which saw then-manager Phil Brown conduct the half-time team talk on the pitch.
5. Danny Welbeck has scored in successive PL games for the first time since April 2012. Welbeck has not scored in three successive Premier League appearances since November 2010 (playing for Sunderland) – the only previous time that he has managed this.
6. Wayne Rooney (149 goals for Man Utd) is one goal away from becoming only the second player in Premier League history to reach the 150 goal mark for a single Premier League club (Thierry Henry – 175 for Arsenal).
All Statistics courtesy of Eurosport and Opta.