Everton travel to the KC Stadium to take on Hull City in what is the final game of the season. In what has been a largely successful 1st season under Roberto Martinez, Everton will look to break the 70pt barrier for the first time in their Premier League history. The game doesn’t hold much importance in terms of the league with Everton guaranteed to finish 5th and for Hull, although they could go up or down depending on the result, they are guaranteed at least another season in the top flight and of course they do have the little matter of an FA Cup final next weekend to attend to. Despite it not being a match with something on the line, I am sure Hull would want to be in fine form heading into the FA Cup final and Everton will look to finish the season strong.
With Europa guaranteed for next season, Martinez has vowed to balance both the League and the Europa League and make sure Everton do the best they can in both
‘We are happy to have that expectation,’
‘I wouldn’t be happy with us as a football club to say ‘we had a great season, now let’s have a bad season’! That is not what we want at Everton.
‘I do think I’ve seen too many negative comments about the Europa League as a competition – I don’t agree with that at all.
‘I think it is a perfect introduction for us to test ourselves in Europe and our ability to cope with the demands that brings.
‘And we don’t want to drop our levels in the domestic leagues. So it will be a fascinating season.
‘The fans expect the team will give everything on the pitch with real style, swagger and quality football and that will always be our focus.’
Hull City Team News:
The main injury concern for Hull City is the fitness of defender James Chester, who is struggling with a hamstring injury. Chester has been ruled out of the game against Everton and faces a battle to be fit for the final in a week’s time. In good news for the Tigers, defender Paul McShane and keeper McGregor are expected to return after lengthy injury spells. It will be interesting to see what type of line up Steve Bruce will go for and with little to play for, you would have to expect his main focus is the match next weekend
Possible Starting XI: Harper, Elmohamady, Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, Bruce, Meyler, Quinn, Koren, Long, Jelavic
Player to watch: Nikica Jelavic
I must admit it will be weird to see Jelavic in the Hull shirt when the two teams face off. It was a dramatic fall from grace for Jelavic. His Everton career started with so much promise, and Everton fans had thought they had finally found the striker they have lacked for years, unfortunately, after a blistering 6months, Jelavic’s goalscoring form quite literally disappeared and in the end, the move to Hull was beneficial to both Everton and Jelavic, and Jelavic has shown some promise and has formed a good partnership with Long.
Everton Team News:
Everton have had a tough time with injuries and to an extent it has taken its toll on a small squad. Everton could welcome back Lacina Traore who has only made one appearance since his loan move from Monaco in January as he has overcome a hamstring injury. Barry will also return to the team after he missed the loss to Man City due to his ineligibly to face his parent club. It will be the last appearance for Lukaku, Barry, Deulofeu and Traore with all 4 loan deals expiring after the match. Everton will be without Gibson, Kone, Oviedo, Mirallas, Distin and Pienaar who are all out injured.
Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu, McGeady, Barkley, Lukaku
Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku really made the difference for Everton, his impact up front was a major driving force to Everton’s successful season, however, with his loan deal up, his future is very much up in the air. Martinez has made no secret about his desire to keep Lukaku however, there are plenty factors that could potentially mean that this is Lukaku’s last game in the royal blue of Everton. It will certainly be an interesting summer and I suspect this drama will last the entire summer.
Match Facts & Stats
1. Everton have had the wood over Hull recently, in their last 5 meetings, Everton have won 3 compared to 1 Hull win.
2. However, the KC Stadium hasn’t been Everton’s favourite ground, their last league win at the KC came way back in 1953
3. Both teams have faded to end the season, both sides have lost 3 out of their last 4 league games.
4. However, both sides will have their most successful Premier League seasons regardless of the result. Hull already have 37pts, when they initially came into the Premier League, and Everton could have their most successful season since 1986/87 when they won the league.
5. Hull have never won a Premier League game in May, they have lost 5 games and drawn the other 3 in May.
As mentioned, the match doesn’t hold much significance for either side, and both will be looking to just get out of the game unscathed. With Hull looking towards the FA Cup final next week, yo could say that could potentially harm their chances of a result, however with Everton stumbling towards the end of the season, there isn’t really a clear cut favourite. I will go fro a 1-1 draw with Lukaku and Jelavic scoring the goals. COYB!!