It was a little over a month ago when Manchester City walked all over us in our opening game of the season.
Things looked bleak and frustration was starting to boil over, not just regarding the performance, but also a lack of summer additions and yet more comedy off the field.
To be fair that anger and anxiety is still there, but since then we’ve seen an upturn in fortunes when it comes to results on the football pitch. We’re unbeaten in four games in all competitions since Manchester City. We’ve won three of those, and another win tomorrow against Steve Bruce and his Hull City outfit would represent our best points return from our opening five league games of the season since the year 2000.
Maybe it’s misplaced optimism, maybe it’s cracks being papered over, but right now results are good and, perhaps more interestingly, performances are better than they have been for a while, both in terms of style of football and the way we approach a game so for now, at least, things are looking better than they were a month ago even though little has really changed. It’s amazing what a few positive results can do for supporter feeling.
United will be without Steven Taylor who picked up a knock in training and is likely to be out for a week or so. Jonas Gutierrez remains absent with a hamstring injury while Shola Ameobi also looks likely to miss out after picking up an injury on international duty with Nigeria. Aside from those three, plus longer term absentee Ryan Taylor, Alan Pardew has a full squad to choose from.
Captain Robert Koren has been ruled out for up to two months after breaking a bone in his foot. Paul McShane is out with a hamstring injury while Maynor Figueroa has been granted compassionate leave to attend a family problem in Honduras so will also be missing. Striker Yannick Sagbo is available after completing his suspension.
There isn’t much of a history to reflect back on between the two clubs. The most recent meetings all came in that fateful relegation season of ours with United failing to register a win in any of the four games between the two sides – Hull winning twice at St James’ Park and holding us to draws on two occasions at their place.
There have been just 14 games played between the two sides with United coming out on top in seven of those compared to just four wins for Hull and three draws which make up the numbers. The highest scoring game (and biggest win registered by either side) came back in 1934 with United beating Hull 6-2 at St James’ Park in the old Second Division.
Stats and facts:
Hatem Ben Arfa has had more attempts at goal in open play than any other player in the Premier League so far this season.
It sounds worse than it actually is, but the last time Newcastle beat Hull in a league game was in 1990.
Hull have not won an away game since they registered victory at Fulham in March 2009 – a run which stretches back 20 games.
Whenever I think of Hull I cast my mind back to that relegation season. For whatever reason we just couldn’t beat them and in the end it was us who was relegated instead of them. Of course it’s not their fault as our results over the course of that season did the damage and not a team who we should have been beating with the greatest of respect.
However they did prove to be tricky customers despite them being the underdog in most of their games. Bigger teams than us fell to them so I’m very wary of complacency regarding this game. We have enough to beat them on paper, but football isn’t played on paper and can pan out completely differently to how people may expect it to. We’ll be the favourites, but it’s also up to us to get the job done.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 21st September, 2013
Venue: St James’ Park