Hull City and Swansea City gambled in January by sacking their managers and replacing them with left-field picks and it is the Swans who have fared better ahead of Saturday’s Premier League encounter.
Hull followed four days later, finally putting Mike Phelan out of his misery following a run of one win in 18 Premier League fixtures.
The Tigers duly won their first game under former Sporting Lisbon coach Marco Silva – ironically against Swansea City in the FA Cup – and have given themselves a good chance of Premier League survival.
They are, however, five points from safety in 19th place ahead of this weekend.
Predicted Line-ups And Team News
We’ve used our brand new Line-Up Predictor to take a look at how the two sides will set up when they face off at the KCOM Stadium. Utilising a unique algorithm, we are able to predict which players will be staring, and which position they will be playing in
There is good news for hosts Hull on the injury front with defender Curtis Davies in contention following a hamstring problem.
However, Evandro, Michael Dawson, Markus Henriksen, Dieumerci Mbokani, Ryan Mason, Moses Odubajo and Will Keane will all miss the game, which will undoubtedly be labelled a relegation six pointer.
Swansea, meanwhile, will be without right-back Kyle Naughton. Ki Sung-Yeung and Jefferson Montero are back in contention, though.
Swansea have enjoyed five Premier League wins since Clement was appointed at the turn of the year, the most impressive of which was a 3-2 success at Liverpool. The Swans followed that victory up with a 2-1 triumph over EFL Cup runners-up Southampton.
While Silva has enjoyed a positive impact at the KCOM Stadium since his arrival, winning four from 11, the Portuguese has saw his side beaten 3-1 by a resurgent Leicester City side last weekend and the Tigers have not won in three since beating Liverpool 2-0.
How The Game Will Be Won And Lost
While from different backgrounds what both have in common is a set-piece threat and Swansea have scored 15 times from set plays this season – the sixth most in the Premier League.
Llorente, a World Cup and European Championships winner with Spain, has scored five of his 11 goals this season since Clement’s appointment.
Crucially, four of five have come in wins which have propelled Swansea from the foot of the table to 15th. They have picked up 15 points under Clement, form which would give them their second-highest Premier League points tally if replicated over the course of a full season.
Four of Llorente’s last five goals have come with his head and Hull’s central defensive pairing – likely to be Andrea Ranocchia and Harry Maguire if Davies does not return in time – will have to get tight to the 6ft 4ins forward to stop him adding to that figure.
The other big threat posed by the visitors comes in the unlikely form of centre-back Mawson. The 23-year-old, who won promotion to the Championship with Barnsley last season before moving to the Liberty Stadium last summer, has three goals in 2017, all three of which have come from set pieces.
Mawson scored twice for the Tykes this season before trading South Yorkshire for South Wales, scoring from a long throw and, inevitably, a free-kick.
Hull City lost their biggest threat, nine-goal Robert Snodgrass, in January. No other Tigers player has more than three goals this season and the hosts will miss the physical presence of striker Mbokani.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given their precarious position the Tigers have have struggled for goals and are the third-lowest scorers in the Premier League with 24 strikes from 27 games. Equally unsurprising is the fact they have manufactured the fourth-fewest chances in the top flight with just 193 opportunities created.
Two of their last five goals in all competitions have been penalties converted by Tom Huddlestone while two more have come on the counter attack. The other was Alfred N’Diaye’s scruffy effort from a corner kick in the win over Liverpool.
In the 3-1 defeat to Leicester last weekend Hull had five goal-scoring opportunities – two set pieces aimed towards towering centre-back Maguire and two counter-attacks. The other came from a corner, suggesting Silva’s side are still struggling to break teams down.
If Swansea can be patient, and with technicians like Gylfi Sigurdsson – who has a league-high 10 assists to his name – and Tom Carroll in midfield they have the quality to retain possession and pick their moment, they should be able to nullify the hosts’ limited threat.