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Match preview: Hull City vs Manchester United

by Sam Koster

At long last we have arrived. For the last game of the season Manchester United will travel east to Hull, to conclude what has been a successful campaign for Louis van Gaal’s men.

With Hull City needing a win to retain any hope of sustaining their top-flight status, United look set to endure a difficult test when they take on the Tigers on Sunday. Every Hull player is likely to be motivated to secure what would be a heroic win against United on Sunday.

Therefore, United must be prepared. Despite Arsenal’s point against Sunderland all but confining them to fourth spot, they must look to end the season on a good note with a win at the KC stadium.

Despite Hull’s top scorer being Nikica Jelavić on eight goals, United’s defence must ensure that they remain focused and wary of a team who are in the middle of a relegation dogfight.

To combat this threat the leadership and organisation of Chris Smalling in defence will be crucial if United are to keep a clean sheet. The English internationals coolness and confidence has provided what was a shaky United defence with some much needed steel in recent weeks.

The game itself may be somewhat of a forlorn affair for United fans, with it being almost certain to be Falcao’s last game in United colours. Supporters will likely feel a sense of ‘what could have been’ if it is to be the Colombians last game on Sunday.
Despite being doubtful due to a hamstring injury, there also remains uncertainty over the future of David de Gea, who Louis van Gaal admitted ‘faced a tough choice’ on whether to join Real Madrid. If the Spaniard is to head home to his native country it would be his last game for United, something many fans may not be able to watch with ease.

However, with some faces likely to be departing Old Trafford, new ones have the chance to come in. With little at stake for United, the game against Hull may present a good opportunity for van Gaal to hand opportunities to the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah Saidy Janko, Josh Harrop and Sean Goss, who have all impressed in the U21s this year.

Either Harrop or Goss could potentially fill Michael Carrick’s vacant position with the veteran midfielder still sidelined through injury. Van Gaal may also look to further test the quality of youngster James Wilson, who scored twice on his debut against the Tigers last year.

United will look to finish the season on a high when they visit Hull on Sunday and finish their campaign in the same way they will look to start the next, and if they can do this while giving opportunities to some of their youngsters, then even better.

A win against Hull would round off an overall successful season for Louis van Gaal’s men, and with United now guaranteed Champions League football next season, fans will be excited about what the future holds.

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