Christian Eriksen in action during Hull CIty vs Spurs in the Premier League.

Hull City vs Spurs: opposition strengths and weaknesses

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.

Three men protect near post (circled) and four man zone ahead of Hull City vs Spurs in the Premier League at the KCOM Stadium.

Three men protect near post (circled) and four man zone.

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.

Jones splits the four-man zone to score highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Hull City vs Spurs in the Premier League at the KCOM Stadium.

Jones splits the four-man zone to score.

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.

Christian Benteke splits the four-man zone to score highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Hull City vs Spurs in the Premier League at the KCOM Stadium.

Christian Benteke splits the four-man zone to score.

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.

Weakness: errors

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.

Strength: crossing

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.

Early ball for Defoe's run in-behind the high line prior to Hull City vs Spurs in the Premier League at the KCOM Stadium.

Early ball for Defoe’s run in-behind the high line.

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.

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10 Responses to Hull City vs Spurs: opposition strengths and weaknesses

  1. Matt 20th May 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    What do you think about Maguire? Think he’s left footed and with verts and Davies I’m not sure we need another LHS central defender?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th May 2017 at 8:06 pm #

      Good question. I’m not massively sold on him, but he’s been playing in an average Hull defence. I think he’s ok but makes positional errors that a lot of young defenders make. Hopefully this will improve with good coaching wherever he ends up. For me, the big thing is that he lacks the speed that we need from our back line. Playing high as we do requires quick defenders, both in mind and foot speed. I’m not sure he’s got the quickness over the ground we require to be honest, which is a big stumbling block.

  2. Chas 21st May 2017 at 3:04 am #

    These pieces must take a fair amount of your time, Mark, so thanks for a great season’s work. I trust you’re here for 2017-8?
    I reckon we’ll be too quick all over the park for Hull, regardless of their recent home record.
    Leicester had one of those, too! :-)

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 21st May 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words Chas. Yes I’ll be here next season.

  3. dex 21st May 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Really love reading your analysis both pre and post matches.

    keep them comimg please

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 21st May 2017 at 2:18 pm #

      Cheers Dex.

  4. anotherwisemonkey 22nd May 2017 at 12:15 am #

    Ok, here’s my fantasy transfer business:

    Out: N’Jie, N’Koudou, Sissoko, Wimmer, Walker (assuming there’s no way back)

    Loan: Onomah

    1 year contract extension: Lamela
    New deals: Kane, Dele, Son, Toby, Eriksen

    In: Dani Alves, Zaha, Sigurdsson


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 22nd May 2017 at 10:24 am #

      Agree with the outs and would try to keep Walker as much as possible, but if he wants to go then have to let him.

      I like the ins. Dani Alves is an interesting shout. I fear at 34 he is a tad too old and he has contract with Juventus until June 2018 so it’s not like he’s available on a free. This limits his appeal to me.

      Zaha I like a lot and feel we can step up a level and Poch can improve him. I think he’s a signing we need to prioritise this summer.

      Sigurdsson would be nice, but if the £25 million being reported is the fee, I don’t think he’s the right player for us. The reasons being that he doesn’t work hard enough without the ball. He also has to play in the centre and doesn’t like to play off a wide position, such as Eriksen does from the right or left. I think players such as Youri Tielemans, James Ward-Prowse or even a cheeky bid for out of favour Henrikh Mkhitaryan would see the money better spent.

      • YouShubes 22nd May 2017 at 2:51 pm #

        Agree with the outs but I do feel for Wimmer who stepped up so well last season. He has shown he is worth keeping for one more year. Maybe I just like the odd couple he and Sonny make :D

        IF walker goes how about the current real #2 RB Danilo?

        Zaha they will want an extortionate amount for and I think he likes being the big fish, esp if his wages get to be 100k/week. Would love to get pace in the attack though.

        Siggy I like but for me it is that his first touch is often quite poor for a player with such good technique. Eriksen tracks back now, maybe Siggy will?

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 22nd May 2017 at 4:35 pm #

          I’m not keen on Danilo and his transfer fee would surely be upwards of £30 million which makes him a huge gamble. I’ve not seen Sigurdsson work that hard without the ball at Spurs or Swansea. It’s why Swansea have ended up in their current 4-3-1-2 formation as they were getting beat when he was wide in a 4-3-3. He is their best attacking player and exceptional at set pieces, but defensively you almost have to hide him. That won’t work with our pressing system.