Ahead of Hull City vs Spurs at the KCOM Stadium we analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Marco Silva’s team.
Hull City has been the Jekyll and Hyde team of the Premier League since Marco Silva took over. As brilliant as the Tigers have been at home, they’ve been equally as abject on the road. Ahead of Hull City vs Spurs we look at the strengths and weaknesses of their team.
Weakness: set pieces
Home or away, set pieces, especially corners, have been a problem. Hull has allowed 14 goals from corners this season, the most in the Premier League.
Hull uses a zonal system that creates more problems than it solves. The idea is to stack the near post and then use four men across the six-yard box to protect this area.
The strategy intends to defend two high-risk areas. Firstly, the corner of the six-yard box where the predominant number of chances statistically comes from. Secondly, giving the goalkeeper space to come and clear anything in to the six-yard box itself.
The issue for Hull is that their zonal system creates as many problems as it solves. The near post is overmanned and the six-yard box is under occupied. Opponents can just go over the first zone and wreak havoc in the second.
Sunderland did that perfectly in their 2-0 win over Hull at the KCOM Stadium. Billy Jones got a run on the four static men across the six-yard box. Arriving in-between them, Jones had a free header just yards from goal.
Hull’s next game, the relegation decider at Crystal Palace, saw Christian Benteke profit. Jason Puncheon swung a long corner over the congested near post area. Benteke had plenty of room for a run up and thus could easily out jump the standing Harry Maguire to head home.
A recent resurgence in goals from set pieces has come at a good time for Tottenham. At corners we regularly see us aiming for the near post to hit the runs of Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld for glancing headers. Opponents have figured this out and so we are seeing more variation now.
The short corner has seen a real renaissance in recent weeks. The routine provided the opener in Spurs 2-1 Man Utd last weekend. The astute Christian Eriksen found Ben Davies to put a wickedly curling cross on to the forehead of Victor Wanyama at the back post. This type of corner is likely to give Hull much more issues than our near post routines that play in to the heart of where they stack their markers.
The Tottenham tactics for Hull City vs Spurs should focus on set pieces. Getting men amongst the four-man zone rather than at the near post will see chances and goals.
Errors haven’t just come from corners. Andrea Ranocchia’s air clearance last weekend gifted Wilfried Zaha the opener for Crystal Palace. Michael Dawson then upended Jeffrey Schlupp to concede a penalty.
Mistakes and miscues have been a feature since Marco Silva took over and are another big reason why Hull failed to escape the drop.
OPTA have record Hull as making 14 errors since Silva took charge. This figure is the second highest in the Premier League during this period. In fact, only Spurs (15) have made more miscues since Silva’s appointment in January.
What’s more, Hull have conceded the most “big chances” since Silva took over. OPTA defines a “big chance” as a situation where an attacker is 1v1 against the goalkeeper or expected to score.
Hull has allowed 42 such situations during Silva’s reign. Middlesbrough (36) is second. Only Man City (15) and Man Utd (12) have conceded less of these chances than Spurs (18).
Weakness: conceding penalties
Penalties also play a part in these error and big chance calculations. Hull has conceded the most spot kicks (4) among Premier League teams since Marco Silva took over.
The Tigers have also conceded the most spot kicks in the Premier League this season (13). Vastly ahead of Arsenal and Southampton (9). Don’t be surprised to see another spot kick conceded on Sunday.
Silva’s attacking strategy is a crossing based one. The Tigers’ coach employs width and delivery in the form of Kamil Grosicki, Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady. The targets are Oumar Niasse and Abel Hernandez in the middle.
Deploying the inside dribbling runs of Lazar Markovic down the right, the majority of service comes from the left. Kamil Grosicki and Andrew Robertson do a nice job of dovetailing down this flank to supply balls in to the middle.
The issue, as it often is with Hull, has been in the finishing. Niasse and Hernandez have just four Premier League goals each this season, which is simply not good enough.
The Tottenham tactics for Hull City vs Spurs should counteract the Tigers’ crossing based approach. A back three should be more than capable of dealing with Hull’s two strikers. Wingbacks should stop the service.
Missing Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier is the biggest issue faced. Spurs will need to stop the Grosicki, Robertson combination and so the choice of right back will be key. Moussa Sissoko deputised rather nervously against Leicester, but would be a risk against Hull’s strong attacking flank.
Weakness: high line
Operating a 4-4-2 system, Hull play with a particularly high defensive line. Centre backs such as Dawson and Ranocchia are not the quickest and so opponents have been able to get in-behind them.
Crystal Palace sought to do this last weekend. The Eagles played a counter attacking approach and looked for the runs of Benteke and Zaha in-behind.
Sunderland also tried this method. Jermain Defoe was unfortunate not to capitalise from one of his runs.
Whether Hull continues with a high defensive line given our pressing game will be one of the factors to look out for in the match. If the Tigers do, then the Tottenham tactics for Hull City vs Spurs should look to run men off the slower centre back.
Hull City vs Spurs outlook
Hull has been very strong at home since Marco Silva arrived. At the KCOM Stadium in his eight Premier League matches in charge, they’ve taken 19 of a possible 24 points.
Both teams have little to play for in terms of Premier League position, as neither can advance or drop in the table. However, with Harry Kane after the Golden Boot and Hugo Lloris a share of the golden glove, Mauricio Pochettino may go strong again with his lineup.
Hull City vs Spurs prediction: Hull 1-2 Spurs.