Hull City-Everton Preview
Everton will welcome the Premier League's most out-of-form side to Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Hull City (2-5-6) will head west on the M62 looking for their first point in five matches and their first win in seven. The Tigers have capitulated in recent months after a promising start to the season, and goals have been particularly hard to come by for Steve Bruce's side. A Jake Livermore strike in the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur is the only goal Hull have scored in the last five league games, and they were comfortably dispatched again Saturday - this time in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.
"The disappointing thing for me was the amount of mistakes we made," Bruce said. "All three goals were the result of individual error and that puts you on the back foot. You have to say we were well beaten, but we contributed too much to it. Individual error has badly cost us here and that drains the confidence from the team.
"Even if we'd played well it was always going to be a difficult one, but we'll roll our sleeves up and get ready for another big game at Everton on Wednesday."
Everton (4-5-4) go into Wednesday's game on the back of their first defeat in six. The Toffees have been inconsistent this season as they struggle to deal with the challenge of balancing Premier League and Europa League campaigns, but the Toffees had been in good form prior to Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Spurs.
Despite the loss, Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes there was plenty of encouragement to take from the game.
"We're really disappointed because I don't think the players deserved to finish with that empty feeling at the end," Martinez said, putting his typically positive spin on his post-match comments. "We started the game really brightly and we scored a magnificent goal, which is the hardest thing in football - scoring that first goal away from home. I did feel at that point we could have just killed the game and gone for the second goal but we couldn't really find that rhythm.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the performance, because it's not an easy place to come and the energy levels that we showed, the commitment, even some phases of our football were really, really good. It's a tough score-line to take when I didn't think our performance deserved that."
Goals have flown in at both ends for the Toffees, with only the league's top three (Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton) scoring more and only struggling Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers conceding more.
Injury problems mean John Stones and Bryan Oviedo will not return at the back to help solve those defensive issues for Everton, while regular starters James McCarthy and Steven Naismith are both doubtful to feature due to hamstring strains. Hull have a full-strength squad available, with the exception of long-term absentee Robert Snodgrass and the suspended Gaston Ramirez.
The omens aren't looking good for a Hull City win on Wednesday. The Tigers have won just one of their six Premier League meetings with Everton in the Premier League and were beaten home and away on their return to the top-flight last season.