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Decade makes a difference as Hull head to United
November 01, 2008 16:01 IST
When Hull City take to the field at Old Trafford to face Manchester United [Images] on Saturday, the enormity of what they have achieved in the past 10 years is likely to hit them.
A decade ago Hull were on the brink of non-league obscurity, rooted to the bottom of the fourth division, while United were on their way to a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.
Both clubs' fans would have sniggered at the suggestion they would be meeting for a top-flight match and laughed even more at the notion that Hull would be above United in the table.
The unimaginable has happened and the debutants will be hoping they can add the champions' name to their impressive list of scalps when they meet for the first time since 1987, when Hull lost 6-0 on aggregate in a League Cup tie.
Although given a harsh dose of reality in a 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea on Wednesday, fifth-placed Hull will be buoyed by the knowledge they have snatched three points at tough places including Arsenal's [Images] Emirates stadium.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger said this week that Hull had every right to be aiming high.
"Hull deserve a lot of credit. They have been the surprise package since the start of the league. They can dream of Europe. Why shouldn't they?" he told the club's website (arsenal.com).
"They are consistent, so you have to start taking them seriously at the top of the league."
United, two points and a place behind Hull with a game in hand, have made a stuttering start to the season but a 2-0 win over West Ham United midweek suggested it was only a matter of time before they catch up with the pacesetters.
League leaders Liverpool face a tricky trip to White Hart Lane to play a Tottenham Hotspur team who have taken big strides in starting to turn their fortunes around in just a few days.
Since sacking manager Juande Ramos last weekend, Spurs have notched their first win of the campaign against Bolton Wanderers and on Wednesday staged a late fight back to snatch a point against arch-rivals Arsenal in a thrilling 4-4 draw.
Saturday marks new boss Harry Redknapp's first home match in charge and boosted by that last result, which Spurs players celebrated as if it was a win, they could lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
Liverpool, looking for a first title since 1990, have a three-point lead over Chelsea, who will want to mend battered pride when they host Sunderland after their 86-match unbeaten run in home league games came to an end last weekend.
Arsenal, six points behind Liverpool in third, visit promoted Stoke City who hauled themselves out of the relegation zone this week with victory over Sunderland.
Redknapp's former club Portsmouth welcome Wigan Athletic, with new Pompey manager Tony Adams looking for his first win.
Saturday's other games see Everton host Fulham, West Ham travel to Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion welcome Blackburn Rovers.
In Sunday's only match, Bolton host Manchester City in a northwest derby.
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