Hull on Top in Premier League Relegation Scraps

Hull beat Middlesbrough 4-2 in their last home outing.

Saturday’s Premier League action brings us three matches that can have a huge bearing on this year’s relegation battle. Sunderland are without a game this weekend as the FA Cup interferes with league fixtures, and that gives their rivals the opportunity to steal a march in the race for survival.

Hull welcome Watford to the KCOM stadium and under Marco Silva they boast one of the best home records in English football in 2017. The Hornets are safe in 10th place but the Tigers are just two points clear of Swansea and the bottom three. The Swans have dropped into the relegation zone at just the wrong time, and they host another mid-table side in Stoke on Saturday afternoon. The Potters are challenging for a top half finish, while Swansea will be targeting three points ahead of a tough pair of fixtures against Manchester United and Everton.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough meet on the south coast in what can only be described as a ‘six-pointer’. The Cherries have earned plenty of accolades for their style of football under Eddie Howe, but they’ve conceded more than anyone in the division bar Hull and Swansea. That probably goes some way to explaining why they find themselves 16th with 35 points. At least Bournemouth have a seven point gap to the drop zone, and one win should be enough to make them safe. Every game is now a ‘must-win’ for Middlesbrough as they attempt to close a six point gap to Hull in 17th. Unfortunately for Boro, they haven’t won in the Premier League in this calendar year, and it’s hard to see where the points are going to come from.

Hull v Watford

The Tigers are a generous price at -105  with Betfair and William Hill taking into account the circumstances and the relative home and away form of the two sides.

Hull have been irresistible at home since the turn of the year, winning seven and drawing one of the last eight across all competitions in front of their own fans. That form has seen them turnaround what looked to be an impossible position and climb out of the relegation zone. They remain just two points above Swansea though, and are probably going to be involved right to the bitter end of the season. There’s a lot to like about the way the Tigers have played under Marco Silva at home – they’ve beaten Middlesbrough and Swansea in recent relegation battles, and scored a notable 2-0 win over Liverpool back in February. They’ve suffered back-to-back 3-1 away defeats to Man City and Stoke in the last two, so a return to home soil should be just the tonic.

Watford have been beaten in eight of their last ten away from Vicarage Road, failing to even find the net in the last three Premier League road games. They’re safe in 10th place, and this is a good opportunity for Hull to earn vital points.

Bournemouth v Middlesbrough

Bournemouth are coming off the back of a tough run of games, so they’ll welcome a home match against a toothless Middlesbrough. The Cherries are backed to win at -110  with BoyleSports and Betfred.

Eddie Howe’s side have faced Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs in the last three, managing a point from a creditable draw at Anfield, but losing comfortably the last twice. They will much prefer a home ground encounter against a mid-table side, the likes of which they tend to do well against. Swansea and West Ham were beaten on the south coast prior to Chelsea’s win here, and one expects Bournemouth to be the side with the most attacking intent on Saturday.

Middlesbrough have showm mild signs of improvement under Steve Agnew, but they are still without a league win since December. They have six games to save their season and six points to make up on Hull, but only the most optimistic Boro fans will believe they can pull off a great escape. The best results they’ve been able to muster recently have been 0-0 draws with Burnley and Swansea, but otherwise it’s six defeats in eight matches.

Swansea v Stoke

Odds of +120  with Marathonbet about over 2.5 goals could be wide of the mark when Stoke visit Swansea.

It isn’t the obvious bet you might choose when looking at this fixture, but times are desperate for Swansea and that could influence the outcome. The Swans have conceded more goals than any other side in the Premier League this season, but as they are two points adrift of safety going into Saturday’s games, there will be little talk of adopting a defensive approach. 12 of their 16 home games this season have gone over the 2.5 goal line, and it could be a similar outcome if they adopt a gung-ho strategy against Stoke.

The Potters had been drifting into mid-table obscurity with four straight defeats, but they ended that sequence with a 3-1 win over Hull last time out. Stoke don’t score many on their travels in general, but they’ve hit the net in three of their last four visits to Wales. The last two meetings home and away between the sides have both had four goals, and Stoke could contribute to another entertaining clash on Saturday.

Tips Summary

Hull to beat Watford
Saturday 22nd April, 15:00 GMT
Odds: -105

Bournemouth to beat Middlesbrough
Saturday 22nd April, 15:00 GMT
Odds: -110

Swansea v Stoke – Over 2.5 goals
Saturday 22nd April, 15:00 GMT
Odds: +120

Bournemouth
Hull City
Premier League
Stoke
Swansea

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