Hull City have adapted to life in the Premier League superbly after winning promotion last season, with Steve Bruce's side seven points above the relegation zone in 12th. They've already seen off Liverpool at the KC Stadium this season, and will be hopeful of ending their four-game winless run by taking another scalp.
United are still very good but perhaps no longer great. As West Brom, Newcastle and Everton can all attest with overdue victories this season, the air of invincibility left Old Trafford along with Sir Alex Ferguson. City are no fools either. A watershed victory over Liverpool three and a half weeks ago should give Steve Bruce’s men no end of confidence that another giant can be felled in 2013’s penultimate game.
Ferguson might have departed but City’s nemesis from 2009-10 remains in United red. Wayne Rooney would appear the most obvious threat to the Tigers this lunchtime and the England striker certainly has history. The last time the sides met Rooney scored all four goals in a 4-0 win at Old Trafford, less than a month after he was the inspiration for a 3-1 win at the KC Stadium almost four years ago to the day.
Regardless of today’s post-Christmas fare, City’s biggest game of the festive schedule will still be to come. Fulham, who sit 19th and seven points adrift of the Tigers, are the side Bruce would really like to beat. Reaching the halfway mark with 23 points banked would be huge. As for United, David Moyes‘ men have won four in a row in all competitions as the festive season has brought plenty of hope for the new year ahead.
With a win and other results going their way, United could be just six points off the top of the table by the end of Boxing Day. Despite Hull’s great start to life back in the big time, they have won just once in seven games and are sliding back down towards the bottom. United are ready to pounce and keep their resurgence going.
Wayne Rooney has been sensational and a new-look forward line around him — following RVP’s injury that has strangely coincided with their upturn in results — has seen the Red Devils look much more fluid and threatening in attack. Adnan Januzaj on one wing, Antonio Valencia on the other and Danny Welbeck up top should hive Hull plenty of problems. However, the home side have conceded just three times at the KC and have only lost once at their Yorkshire home all season.