Hull City v Swansea City: The big talking points

10th March 2017

Swansea City look to continue their upturn in form when they travel to face relegation rivals Hull City this weekend.
But Paul Clement's men can expect a stern examination from a Tigers side who have also made strides forward following the arrival of a new boss.
Here are all the key talking points going into the game.



Credit to Clement
Since the Swans' head coach was appointed on January 3, his team have won five and lost three of eight Premier League games.
If they could carry on at that pace until the end of the season, the Swans would finish with a total of 48 points - having had only 12 on the board when Clement arrived at the midway point of the league campaign.
That would be the Swans' second highest end-of-season return in the Premier League, which would be a spectacular achievement given their early struggles.
Even more remarkable is this statistic. The Swans have taken 15 points from their last eight league games. Had they managed that ratio throughout 2015-16, they would have finished second only to Leicester City.


 
Silva service
Clement is not the only new man at the top who has had an impact. 
Marco Silva got the better of Clement in his first game in charge, in the FA Cup back in January, and Hull look a much stronger side now than they did in the latter days of Mike Phelan's reign.
There have been five defeats since Silva took over, against Manchester United (League Cup), Chelsea, Fulham (FA Cup), Arsenal and Leicester.
But Hull have beaten Bournemouth and Liverpool at home - plus United in the second leg of their League Cup meeting - while there have also been top-flight draws at Old Trafford and at home to Burnley.
As well as Silva, a handful of new signings have made a strong impression.



A Llorente treble?
Fernando Llorente has scored in the Swans' last two Premier League games, away at Chelsea and at home to Burnley last weekend.
The last time the club's 11-goal leading marksman netted in three straight league fixtures was more than three years ago.
Then a Juventus player, Llorente netted against Cagliari, Sampdoria and Lazio in successive Serie A appearances in January 2014.
Clement would be delighted if the big Spaniard can repeat the trick this weekend.



What little difference a year makes
The first half of the season saw the Swans endure their toughest spell since they were promoted to the Premier League almost six years ago.
And at the turn of the year, the Swans' tally of 12 points from 19 top-flight matches meant 2016-17 looked certain to be the club's worst at this level.
However, the huge improvements seen over the last couple of months mean that after 27 league games, the Swans have 27 points.
And that is exactly the same position they were in 12 months ago, following a 2-1 defeat at Spurs.
In 2013-14, the season when Garry Monk took over from Michael Laudrup, the Swans were only one point better off at this stage.



Tiger tamers?
The Swans may feel they are due a result against Hull given that they have lost to them twice already this season.
There was the FA Cup defeat in January, when late goals from Abel Hernandez and Josh Tymon saw Hull home, and the Tigers' league win at the Liberty back in August, when Hernandez and Shaun Maloney struck in the closing stages to give the visitors victory in a game the Swans felt they should have won.
Those two results - plus least season's League Cup win over the Swans - will give Hull confidence this weekend, as will their impressive home form.
The Tigers have not won an away league game since that early-season victory in SA1. 
But on their own patch, they have lost only one of their last eight in all competitions.


 
Five-tier scorers
Hull midfielder Sam Clucas did something special when he netted at Leicester last weekend.
The 26-year-old's first Premier League goal meant he had netted in each of English football's top five divisions.
He scored in what is now the National League for Hereford, in League Two for Mansfield, League One for Chesterfield and in the Championship for Hull.  
But he is not the only current Premier League player who has achieved the feat. 
Swans star Alfie Mawson reached the landmark when he headed home against Crystal Palace in January.
He previously scored for Welling (National League), Wycombe (League Two) and Barnsley (League One and Championship).