On Tuesday, Championship fixtures pick back up following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the postponement of this past weekend’s games. With that, The Potters head to Hull City as Alex Neil looks for his first three points as the Stoke City boss. Stoke City currently sits just above the relegation mark in 20th on the table, although the Potters are even with Birmingham and Cardiff City with 8 points for that final relegation spot. Only goal differential as of now would be keeping them up. As for Hull City, they sit at 12th on the table with 11 points.
Once again this will be a pivotal matchup for Stoke City early in the season to try to grab points, with just three points separating them from 8th on the table.
How will Stoke City line up against Hull City?
Since taking over as manager with Stoke City, Alex Neil has had the Potters lined up in two different formations. One was a 4-3-3 against Swansea and the other was a 3-5-2 against Reading. That’s why today’s game is a coin flip as to which one Neil chooses against Hull City. Neil did say in his pregame presser on Monday when asked about changing the team’s shape, “I don’t think the 4 (back 4 in a 4-3-3) makes any difference in terms of the break.”
That tends to point towards Neil possibly sticking in a 3-5-2. However, I think Neil does choose to play in a 4-3-3 Tuesday. The reason is that Hull City just doesn’t retain possession very often. Hull City as of right now sit at the bottom of the Championship in terms of possession per game with 40% on average.
Stoke City should be able to have at least half, if not more of the possession Tuesday. The 4-3-3 gives Stoke City the best shot at retaining possession and doing the most with it on the road at Hull City. The team’s defensive miscues against Reading and the team’s health might also play a big factor in the team lining up in a 4-3-3.
Starting XI Prediction:
In Monday’s pregame presser, Alex Neil stated that Sam Clucas is dealing with some hamstring problems still. That will lead to his availability being in question. A new transfer from Chelsea Dujon Sterling is also still presumed unavailable for Tuesday’s game. Neil did say that Dwight Gayle and Nick Powell should be available.
The biggest question for me regarding the Tuesday lineup is who Neil chooses to be in goal. Neil could go with a confidence booster and stick with Jack Bonham. But given his crucial mistake against Reading, with the last time out that led to a goal, a change to Josef Bursik could be the choice.
With those injuries and goalkeeping questions Stoke City could start the game with Bursik – Fox – Flint – Wilmot – Fosu-Henry – Taylor – Baker – Smallbone – Brown – Delap – Powell.
Prediction for Stoke City vs Hull City:
Stoke City has not been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks. This is a big chance for them against Hull City to start to steady the ship. Hull City have conceded to this point the most goals in the Championship with 15. Again, as mentioned above, Hull City also doesn’t retain possession .
This is Stoke City’s chance to hold the ball and pin their ears back in attack. It’s on the road to Stoke City which you must take into consideration. But this matchup may be exactly what the team needs to break out for at least a couple of goals.
Stoke City will need to be very wary of the counterattack however with half or more of the possession. The Potters had issues with counters against Reading and Hull City is more than capable of replicating what Reading did with those counters.
Even with that, Stoke City clean up some mistakes in this match. Stoke City should at least grab a point. I say they get all three though with a 2-1 victory.