Spurs vs Hull is how we finish off our last Premier League game at home this season, so we break down how to beat Steve Bruce’s team.
After back-to-back defeats and only one win in six in the Premier League, a visit from relegation threatened Hull might be the perfect tonic. Steve Bruce’s side have won just six of their last sixty-one Premier League matches away from home as they’ve become embroiled in the relegation dog fight.
With the trap door looming they won’t be such easy fodder, but what should we on the lookout for in Spurs vs Hull this time and how do you go about beating his team?
How Hull concedes goals
Hull have done a decent job in the goals against column compared to their relegation rivals. They’ve even conceded less than us! The main problem for their defence is that they have given up goals in two ways this season.
The first way is from the ball over the top played in-behind their three centre backs, or when Steve Bruce opts for it, the back four. The problem Hull have is a distinct lack of pace, even though their back line doesn’t play that high.
If we take a look at some of Hull’s recent matches away from home we can see how they have been caught out.
Swansea took them apart 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium. They scored their first two goals as Ki and Bafetimbi Gomis got in-behind Hull’s back line to poke home defensive miscues. Ki turned home a parried save and Gomis a bad defensive clearance. The Frenchman then added a second as he raced on to a long pass beyond Hull’s back line from Jonjo Shelvey.
In Hull’s next away game, Southampton also profited from getting men beyond their back three. Ronald Koeman picked the pace of Shane Long and Sadio Mane for his wide forward positions. The Irishman raced in-behind and was pulled down by James Chester to earn a penalty.
Back at the KC Stadium and Arsenal also profited from this tactic as both Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez scored from balls played beyond the Hull defence.
Cazorla’s long ball for Ramsey over the top was a pinpoint pass as the Hull back line wasn’t particularly high. It was just Ramsey racing on to it highlighted the lack of pace.
Alexis Sanchez’s second goal of the night highlighted the other way Hull have conceded goals. That’s is by the ball being played through the inside channels down the sides of their three centre backs to create either shooting or cut back positions.
Southampton also exposed Hull in this way. Shane Long found Morgan Schneiderlin moving through this channel down the side of the centre backs, allowing him to cut the ball back for Graziano Pelle to score.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Hull should focus on looking to expose the Tigers with each of these methods. Harry Kane, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela don’t have lightening pace, but do have a good enough top speed to beat Michael Dawson, James Chester or Paul McShane in a foot race. This is especially true if Hull are caught up the pitch, as they need to get something from this game.
Dealing with Hull’s crosses
Hull are a crossing team. They look to move the ball quickly out to Robbie Brady and Ahmed Elmohamady in the wingback positions in order to provide service to their two front men.
For a side that averages just 44% possession, Hull gets a substantial amount of balls in to the box. Among all Premier League players, Brady and Elmohamady rank fourth and seventeenth in number of crosses attempted. They rank an equally good seventh and twelfth in crosses completed.
Dealing with Hull’s crossing threat starts in the centre of the field by stopping Tom Huddlestone spraying the ball out to these two. It also requires two athletic full backs that not only have the ability to track Brady and Elmohamady, but also to force them back.
Mauricio Pochettino will probably go with Eric Dier and Danny Rose as his two full backs here. However, DeAndre Yedlin’s speed and recovery pace would see him as the ideal accompaniment to Rose to keep both Brady and Elmohamady in check.
Hindering Tom Huddlestone
We all know the game of Tom Huddlestone all too well. If given time and space on the ball he can spray pinpoint passes over both long and short distances. Where the big man has problems is if he’s given little time on the ball and forced to play quickly.
Teams that have done well against Hull get players in and around Huddlestone to do just this. Arsenal often did in their recent 3-1 win, creating two goals from pouncing quickly upon him as he received possession. First of all it was Mesut Ozil who stripped him of the ball that lead to Alexis Sanchez being fouled and his free kick opener.
On Arsenal’s third, Huddlestone was set upon by two Gooners who then swiftly moved the ball forward to Sanchez to score.
Giving Tom Huddlestone time and space to dictate play is the big no no in this game for Tottenham tactically. Physical ball winners that can match up on his size and strength like Dembele, Paulinho and Bentaleb should be the choice in central midfield for Spurs vs Hull on Saturday.
Spurs vs Hull outlook
This game will be much tougher than usually expected given that Hull are in a desperate relegation fight. What’s more with three ex-Spurs players in their line-up, all of whom will be looking to show what we’ve let go, they’ll be extremely up for the battle. Michael Dawson may not be the technical player we now seek at the back, but we certainly do miss a player with his passion and leadership.
The key will be getting the ball quickly in-behind their back line, especially if Hull are caught up the field. When their defensive shape is set, then getting in down the sides of their three centre backs to create shooting or cut back opportunities is imperative.
Spurs vs Hull prediction: Spurs 2-1 Hull.
Spurs vs Hull line-up
Given Hull’s weakness to speed in-behind Kane, Lamela and Chadli should all get a run-out here. Mousa Dembele should come in alongside Nabil Bentaleb to deal with Tom Huddlestone. DeAndre Yedlin should also get a run out at full back to matchup with Robbie Brady.
Spurs vs Hull betting