Premier League: Hull City vs Leicester City preview


Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City kick off their title defence campaign on Saturday at newly-promoted Hull City in the very first match of the new season. The Foxes surprised just about everybody last season when they have taken the Premiership title, successfully defending it this season would probably be an even bigger surprise. Hull have not won against Leicester in their last five league matches, with two draws recorded and three wins for the Foxes. The reigning Premier League champions have never lost the opening match of the season.

Hull City should have been happy after the victory over Sheffield Wednesday promoted them to the Premier League, but manager Steve Bruce decided to quit his job due to the lack of funds made available by the club for transfers. Mike Phelan took over as interim manager, hoping to steer the Tigers clear from relegation. But they have not spent a single pound yet on new players, Hull City are the only Premier League side yet to sign a player this summer. Moreover, Phelan has just 13 fit senior players in his squad at the moment, hardly an ideal situation for the start of the season. The club is up for sale for two years now, so there is uncertainty all around at the KCOM Stadium.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri admitted that defending the title will be an even tougher job than winning it last season, but this summer's transfer dealings have reinforced the squad, at least in theory. They lost 2-1 to Manchester United in the Community Shield last weekend, but they displayed the same dangerous counter-attacking style that rewarded them with the title last season. The only star that left the club was N'Golo Kante, replaced by Nampalys Mendy, while Ahmed Musa joins an attack that should produce a lot of damage.

Probable line-ups:

Hull: Jakupovic - Elmohamady, Livermore, Davies, Robertson - Clucas, Huddlestone, Meyler, Snodgrass - Diomande, Hernandez

Leicester: Schmeichel - Simpson, Hernandez, Morgan, Fuchs - Mahrez, King, Drinkwater, Albrighton - Okazaki, Vardy

My prediction: Leicester to win 2-0.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Hull win - 4.50
Draw - 3.60
Leicester win - 1.91

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