Hull v Chelsea, Premier League, February 2, 2010
John Terry was a feature on both the front and back of the Sunday papers and will undoubtedly be the star attraction at the KC Stadium. The likes of Vanessa Perroncel, Toni Poole and Wayne Bridge have little to do with this match but Chelseaâ€™s performance at Burnley and in particular â€œThe Cheatâ€™sâ€ goal suggest like many scoundrels before him (e.g. Lee Bowyer during his court case) adversity brings out the best in the England captain.
Chelsea have backed their man to a hilt in recent days and who can blame them. Manchester Unitedâ€™s comprehensive win at the Emirates on Sunday has left the Blues with an opportunity to go four points clear at the top of the table against the second worst team in the league.
Carlo Ancelottiâ€™s side come into this match following an excellent January. All five of their matches in the first month of 2010 ended in victories and the loss of African stars Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba had absolutely no impact. Chelsea scored 19 goals last month and also have recent experience of winning away up north thanks to victories at Preston and Burnley on Saturday. (Chelsea are 11/8 to win both halves, 8/11 against.)
Florent Malouda has been particularly impressive in recent weeks, scoring three goals in his last five matches. Frank Lampard has also quietly gone about his business (five in his last five matches), Nicolas Anelka continues to threaten in every game and Daniel Sturridge also came of age with Drogba in Angola.
The Ivorian striker could well be involved against Hull and he will be looking to make up for lost time after his disappointing performances at the Africa Cup of Nations. Deco will also expect to start after a brief cameo appearance in the win at Burnley.
Hull are second from bottom and are on a horrible run with echoes of last season where they struggled for much of the second half of the campaign. The Tigers last won a Premier League match at the end of November when they beat Everton 3-2 at home. (Hull are 4/6 to be relegated.)
Since then things have been bleak for Phil Brownâ€™s side who have picked up just four points from a possible 30. There have been some decent results, including draws at Manchester City and Spurs, but against the best teams Hull have struggled.
They lost twice to Manchester United in a month, conceding seven goals in the process and also conceded three at Arsenal and four at Wigan. The Tigers will also be smarting from their 2-2 draw (29/1) with Wolves on Saturday, a game they had to win and were twice pegged back in.
Following the match much of the transfer talk was about Stephen Hunt and the former Reading winger will be key to Hullâ€™s survival hopes. Jimmy Bullard cannot return quick enough from injury and new loan signing Amr Zaki will be hoping to bring the form he showed in the first half of his spell at Wigan last season.
Hull took a shock lead at Chelsea on the opening day of the season with the Blues eventually winning thanks to a Drogba brace, the second of which came in injury time. Carlo Ancelotti will be well aware that the next two games see Chelsea face Arsenal at home and then Everton away and a four-point cushion will be most welcome.( 5/4 to be under 2.5 goals, 11/8 to be over.)
101gg predicts: Hull 0 â€“ Chelsea 3 (John Terry to score) (8/1)
Full match odds here.