Hull City will welcome Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal to the KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Premier League football returns to Humberside after a break of three weeks.
The Tigers, who are still under the caretaker charge of recently crowned Manager of the Month, Mike Phelan, have enjoyed a positive return to the top-flight, achieving wins over Leicester City and Swansea City, with just a solitary defeat against Manchester United.
Last Saturday, Robert Snodgrass salvaged a point for Hull following an injury time free-kick away at Burnley. Steven Defour had thumped the fellow newly-promoted Clarets into the lead at Turf Moor.
City are currently eighth in the standings after their last gasp equaliser in east Lancashire, however the game this weekend provides a different test to the one they encountered against Sean Dyche’s men.
Arsenal make the journey up to Hull buoyed by a recent upturn in results, both domestically and in Europe.
The North London outfit recorded their second successive Premier League win over Southampton at the Emirates Stadium last Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal went behind after 18 minutes when Petr Cech tipped Dusan Tadic’s free-kick onto the underside of the crossbar, only for the ball to bounce in off the Gunners goalkeeper.
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny levelled the score just shy of the half hour with an overhead kick from Santi Cazorla’s corner.
Cazorla proved to be the match-winner from the penalty spot deep into second-half stoppage time, after Jose Fonte had adjudged to have fouled Olivier Giroud, a victory that moved them up to seventh.
They were back in action on Tuesday night in their opening Champions League group game at Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.
Alexis Sanchez netted a late goal to preserve a draw, cancelling out Edinson Cavani’s first-minute header, in a game in which Giroud and Marco Verratti were both sent off late on.
Hull and Arsenal last met at the KCOM Stadium in an FA Cup fifth-round replay back in March. A brace each from Giroud and Theo Walcott was enough to see them through to the quarter-finals.
Phelan will have to contend without the injured quartet of Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce, Michael Dawson and Moses Odubajo, as the four players remain the only long-term absentees from the Hull line-up.
Wenger is set to recall shot-stopper Cech to the starting XI – the 34-year-old was confined to the substitute’s bench for the stalemate in Paris on Tuesday, in place of David Ospina.
Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are injury casualties, meaning that Shkodran Mustafi and Koscielny are likely to resume their partnership in the heart of the defence.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey is still a doubt due to ongoing hamstring concerns, although he has returned to light training.
League Positions: Hull City – 8th (7pts); Arsenal – 7th (7pts)
Last Meeting: Hull City 0-4 Arsenal – (FA Cup fifth-round replay – March 8, 2016)
League Form: Hull City – WWLD; Arsenal – LDWW
Key Men: Hull City – Robert Snodgrass; Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez
Shoot Says: Hull City 1-2 Arsenal