Preview: Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur
Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull
Wednesday 19th August 2009, Kick Off 19:45
Premier League, Match 2
Referee: Chris Foy
Assistant referees: Bob Pollock & Michael Murphy
Fourth official: Lee Mason
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Hull City for their first away Premier League fixture of 2009-10 fresh from an impressive 2-1 win over Liverpool while Hull suffered an opening day 2-1 loss at Chelsea. Both teams met recently in the Barclays Asia Trophy Final, which Spurs won 3-0 with a brace from Robbie Keane and one from Aaron Lennon. The corresponding League fixture last season also resulted in a 2-1 Spurs win with Lennon & Woodgate grabbing the goals.
The two teams had very contrasting starts to last season, with Hull City riding high while Spurs were rock bottom. Eventually, Spurs recovered under Harry Redknapp to finish in 8th place while it was touch and go for Hull's Premier League survival right up until the last game of the season.
Spurs should be favorites for the win on Wednesday night and if they do manage to grab all three points, it will be the first time since season 2005-06 that they will have a 100% record after the opening two matches. Season 1994-95 was the only other time that Spurs had 6 out of 6 points in the Premier League.
Ledley King is very doubtful to start, so Sebastien Bassong will probably be partnered in central defence with Vedran Corluka with either Alan Hutton or Kyle Naughton as right back.
Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson remain injured and Jermain Jenas is still doubtful, meaning Tom Huddlestone will probably partner Wilson Palacios in central midfield.
Any two from Spurs four strikers could start, but I fancy Harry to give the nod to Peter Crouch with Robbie Keane as his initial partner.
Hull midfielder Dean Marney won't be able to face his former club after succumbing to the knee injury he received against Chelsea.
Craig Fagan (hernia) is still recovering and USA striker Jozy Altidore is waiting for a work permit.
Harry Redknapp has confirmed that Ledley King will miss Wednesday night's trip to Hull in the Barclays Premier League.
The central defender's continued knee problems means he cannot play three games a week but he will come back into contention for Sunday's derby at West Ham.
Otherwise, it's a case of 'as you were' for Harry as he prepares for the trip to Humberside.
Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Michael Dawson (Achilles) are both out although Woody is already running again.
Meanwhile, midfielder Jermaine Jenas (calf) is still doubtful after missing the opener against Liverpool.
• Tottenham won the corresponding fixture last season for the first time since Boxing Day 1919.
• Hull had the worst home record in the English Leagues last season, mustering just three wins and 14 points from 19 games.
• They are on an 11-match winless run at home in the league since beating Middlesbrough 2-1 on 6 December (D3, L8)
• They are looking for a first win in 12 league games, home or away. They have earned just three points out of a possible 33.
• Bernard Mendy will be playing on his 28th birthday. Former Tottenham player Nick Barmby is one goal shy of 100 club career goals.
• Tottenham are vying for a first away win in five attempts (D1, L3).
• Spurs have only won their opening two league games of the season once in 14 years (2005).
ROBBIE KEANE ON HULL CITY:
Robbie Keane has stated the importance of following up our fine win against Liverpool when we travel to Hull in the Barclays Premier League tonight (August 19).
Sunday's success at the Lane represented our first win on the opening weekend of the campaign since a 2-0 victory at Portsmouth in 2005-06.
We went on to lose just one of our first 11 games that season on our way to finishing fifth.
Robbie is well aware of the challenge ahead at the KC Stadium - we kick-off at 7.45pm - but says it's one we have to rise to.
He said: "It was a great start at the weekend against Liverpool, a win we totally deserved and not one that we nicked.
"We dominated from start to finish, created plenty of chances and their keeper pulled off some great saves to keep them in it.
"When you look at the last couple of years with the way we've finished the campaign, we're always left thinking 'what if we'd made a good start' - well now we have an opportunity to do that after Sunday's win.
"It's no good beating Liverpool if we don't follow that up with good results in our next few games, starting with Hull on Wednesday.
"We've got a few games coming up in which we're quite capable of getting points on the board.
"But if we are to do that, we have to work as hard as we did on Sunday, don't let teams play and when we get the ball play the way we can. If we do that we've got every chance of making this a fantastic start to the season."
We beat Hull in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy in China three weeks ago - Robbie was on target in the 3-0 win - but that will mean nothing as we travel to Humberside.
Indeed, the Tigers impressed in a 2-1 defeat at title-favourites Chelsea on Saturday having taken the lead through new signing Steven Hunt.
"We will treat Hull with the respect they deserve," added Robbie. "It's a game we can't take lightly but it's also one we have to look at winning if we are to mount a serious challenge this season.
"They are a team who know all about making a good start, they did exactly that last term and it gave them the platform to stay in the division. If they'd lost just one of those games early on they would have been relegated.
"Hull will be difficult opponents, especially at home and they will be looking to build on their performance at Chelsea on Saturday, it was no shame on their part to go to Stamford Bridge and lose in the last minute, having held Chelsea for so long and competed with them well on the day.
"It will be a tough game on Wednesday but we're full of confidence of going there and getting a result."
HARRY REDKNAPP ON HULL CITY:
Harry Redknapp was impressed with what he saw of Hull at Chelsea on Saturday.
The manager made a quick dash from training at Spurs Lodge to Stamford Bridge to watch the Tigers' opener against the Blues.
Phil Brown's men won plenty of plaudits for their performance after going 1-0 up through Steven Hunt before Didier Drogba's double turned the game around - the winner in the final minute.
"I thought they did well," reported Harry. "They worked hard, they were solid, you could see that they are well organised, Phil Brown is a terrific coach and you can see he has worked hard on them like he did last year.
"He got the best out of them last year, although they did go on a terrible run at the end, but in the first 18 to 20 games or so that kept them up they were in great form.
"They stayed in the game well on Saturday and although Chelsea had lots of chances, Hull also had a couple of very good chances to have scored so it was a good performance from them."
Harry is well aware of the need to build on our excellent win against Liverpool on Sunday - our first opening day win since 2005.
"We all came into the new season wanting to get three points on the board as quickly as possible and Liverpool at home, you couldn't have picked many tougher games," he said.
"They are a fantastic side so to beat them was a great start for us. We have a tough week now. We go to Hull and then West Ham so it is important that we build on that win.
"If you can get a good start it sets you up for the season. If we can have a good first four or five games of the season, get some points on the board it will push us into a good position early and that's where you want to be."
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
Hull know that against a side like Tottenham, who will be aiming for the top six, a point would be a good result.
They were a bit unlucky to concede so late against Chelsea and they troubled them when they were allowed to.
Tottenham struggled away from home last season, I expect that to improve with Sebastien Bassong looking good on his debut and I think they can come away with a point.
Verdict: Hull City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
12-Jan-1907 F.A. Cup 1 27,033 H D 0 - 0
17-Jan-07 F.A. Cup 1 Replay 18,000 A D 0 - 0 (Abandoned after 10 mins of Extra time, result stood)
21-Jan-07 F.A. Cup 1 2nd Replay 20,000 H W 1 - 0 Chapman
26-Sep-08 Division 2 12,000 A L 0 - 1
30-Jan-09 Division 2 21,000 H D 0 - 0
12-May-12 Tour - N L 0 - 2 (Match played in Brussels, Belgium)
25-Dec-19 Division 2 40,008 H W 4 - 0 Grimsdell (pen), Cantrell, Bliss (2)
26-Dec-19 Division 2 28,000 A W 3 - 1 Cantrell, Dimmock, Bell og
27-Mar-26 Friendly - A L 0 - 5
06-Oct-28 Division 2 28,737 H W 4 - 1 Scott, Osborne, Elkes (2)
15-Apr-29 Division 2 4,139 A D 1 - 1 Harper
21-Dec-29 Division 2 9,103 H D 2 - 2 Harper (2)
26-Apr-30 Division 2 6,396 A L 0 - 2
02-Sep-35 Division 2 25,603 H W 3 - 1 McCormick, Howe, Hunt DA
09-Sep-35 Division 2 9,616 A L 0 - 1
07-Apr-50 Division 2 66,889 H D 0 - 0
10-Apr-50 Division 2 38,345 A L 0 - 1
20-Feb-54 F.A. Cup 5 46,839 A D 1 - 1 Bennett
24-Feb-54 F.A. Cup 5 Replay 52,934 H W 2 - 0 Walters, Baily
04-Oct-77 Division 2 10,966 A L 0 - 2
26-Mar-78 Division 2 36,913 H W 1 - 0 Perryman
24-Jan-81 F.A. Cup 4 37,532 H W 2 - 0 Archibald, Brooke
15-Apr-88 Friendly - A L 1 - 2 Walsh
08-May-92 Friendly 9,994 A W 6 - 2 Barmby (2), Hendry (2), Turner, Samways
24-Jly-2004 Friendly 13,316 A D 2 - 2 Defoe (2)
05-Oct-08 FA Prem 36,062 H L 0 - 1
21-Feb-09 FA Prem 24,742 A W 2 - 1 Lennon, Woodgate
31-Jly-09 Asia Trophy Final N W 3 - 0 Keane (2, 1p), Lennon (Match played in Beijing, China)
19-Aug-09 FA Prem A
16-Jan-10 FA Prem H
LAST TIME WE MET...
Monday, 23 February 2009, Premier League, Hull City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Jonathan Woodgate's 86th-minute header lifted Tottenham to 14th with a valuable victory at the KC Stadium.
They went ahead with a superb 20-yard effort from Aaron Lennon, who found space following a short corner.
But Hull looked dangerous in an entertaining first half and Michael Turner slid in to equalise after Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini fumbled a corner.
Both sides hit the woodwork but when a draw looked certain, Woodgate rose to head in Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross.
A year ago, Woodgate headed the winner at Wembley as Spurs lifted the Carling Cup.
In his 50th appearance for the club, he scored a goal that while not quite as crucial, could be hugely important in their battle for survival.
Five years ago this weekend Hull were losing at home to Torquay in the fourth tier of the English leagues, but having been in the top half of the table for much of their debut season in the Premier League, they are now embroiled in a multi-team relegation scrap.
The warning signs were evident for Spurs in the opening moments when Andy Dawson's inswinging corner from the right caused anxiety in the six-yard box, and set pieces remained a constant problem for the visitors.
Dawson found himself in the book within the opening seven minutes for two crude challenges on the pacy Lennon, but though Hull looked the more dangerous it was Spurs who took the lead with the first moment of genuine quality.
Ironically it stemmed from a set play, as Luka Modric worked a short corner with Robbie Keane and found Lennon on the edge of the area.
The diminutive winger had time to line up a shot, but his curling effort into the narrow gap available to the left-hand corner was exquisite.
Hull came right back, however, and Cudicini had to be alert to rush out and block with his legs to deny the charging Kamil Zayatte.
But the Italian goalkeeper flapped badly at another inswinging corner from the right, and after the ball ricocheted off Wilson Palacios, Turner slid in ahead of Ledley King to apply the finishing touch.
Spurs looked the more comfortable in possession but Hull were the more purposeful, with Daniel Cousin's volley dipping just over and an unmarked Sam Ricketts glancing a header wide.
Harry Redknapp had looked increasingly agitated by his team's failings and they would no doubt have felt the force of his frustrations as they emerged with more intent after the break.
Keane broke down the left and crossed for Palacios to hit a fierce volley heading straight for the corner, only for former Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner to block with his head.
A Modric free-kick was headed against the top of the bar by his compatriot Vedran Corluka but much of the second half lacked fluency.
It was not until midway through it that Hull tested the Spurs goal, Zayatte breaking free to glance another inswinging corner from the right against the outside of the post.
Woodgate's superb leap settled it, he had to leave the field shortly before the end with blood streaming from above his eye, but that endeavour helped to end a run of four away defeats and gave Spurs a key win.
For Hull it was a 10th league match without a victory and only four points separate them from 17th-placed Stoke.
Hull manager Phil Brown:
"I'm not worried about relegation. That's the wrong word. It's always been in the back of our minds.
"We can't lose games like that. We've got to learn the little details we need to pick up on.
"But I believe we have enough ability and character in the camp to get through this poor spell."
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"We've got to play Monday and Thursday and we've got a cup final on Sunday. It's ludicrous.
"It showed why I rested players. People should understand that is why I do my job and that is why they do their job.
"They made it difficult in the first half, they worked their socks off and were always a big threat at set plays.
"But in the second half we created the better chances and were the better team and it's a terrific result for us."
Duke, Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Marney, Ashbee, Zayatte (Geovanni 87), Kilbane, Garcia (Manucho 79), Cousin (Mendy 67).
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Doyle, Barmby, Halmosi.
Booked: Dawson, Ashbee.
Goal: Turner 27.
Cudicini, Corluka, Woodgate (Dawson 89), King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Zokora 87), Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Keane, Bent (Pavlyuchenko 72).
Subs Not Used: Gomes, Bentley, Huddlestone, Chimbonda.
Goals: Lennon 17, Woodgate 86.
Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater men of the match: Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Hull's Michael Turner