The Tigers were forced to retreat and then opened up in the left back zone as it finished Hull City 1-7 Spurs at the KCOM stadium.
After six goals at the King Power Stadium, Spurs went one better at the KCOM. The Tigers were simply powerless to stop a swift and clinical Tottenham side. The score ended a brutal Hull City 1-7 Spurs and it could’ve been more.
Tottenham went about destroying Hull in three ways. Firstly, Spurs used long passing to force Hull’s attempt to squeeze up the pitch backwards. Once driven towards their own goal, Tottenham could go about the second part of the plan. Spurs used pressing of their own to hem Hull in and then short, neat passing to open them up. The third and most clinical part was to attack Hull’s left back zone. Eighteen-year-old Josh Tymon was starting here and Tottenham wanted to exploit him.
Long ball Spurs
Hull opened the game by playing a 3-5-2 formation. The Tigers tried to use their front two, Oumar Niasse and Sam Clucas, to push up on our centre backs. Behind the pressing strikers, Hull wanted to move up the pitch and condense the playing area.
In response to this tactic, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, played long passes in order to force Hull backwards. Alderweireld was unerringly accurate in his passing and switches of play. The centre back completed a ridiculously good 52 of his 59 total passes. Spurs an obscenely excellent 40 of 55 long balls overall.
The long passing forced Hull to turn back. The fact that Spurs were so often completing the first pass or even winning the second ball, meant that we gained possession high up the pitch and could directly attack the Hull back line.
Attacking the left back
The next port of call was to attack the space around stand-in left back Josh Tymon. Spurs would hit this space and then often press to try and win the ball back.
Eleven minutes were on the clock when Toby Alderweireld played a long ball across the deck in to feet of Harry Kane.
Alderweireld’s pass got play straight on the Hull back line. Kane sent a lobbed pass out towards Dele Alli, but Tymon got their first. Spurs then pressed and Eric Dier won the ball back. Retrieving possession high up the pitch, the through passes could begin. Christian Eriksen coming short and Son Heung-Min running in-behind stretched Hull’s defence. The pair’s movement created enough space for Harry Kane to rifle home.
Two minutes later and Tymon was the focus once again. Eric Dier’s long pass this time over two lines of the Hull defence found Kieran Trippier on the move beyond the left back.
This back door cut is a move we’ve frequently seen under Pochettino. Trippier and Dier executed it perfectly. The Hull defence was dragged over towards Dier’s side, isolating Tymon against the run. Trippier kept his composure to square for Kane to tap home, tightening his grasp on the golden boot.
Press, recover, counter
Pressing has been our calling card under Mauricio Pochettino and it played a huge part in three of our goals. The reason it was so effective in this match was that at the time of recovery, Hull had too many men in advance of the ball. This proved to be the case on our first goal and again on our third.
Eric Dier was our presser in chief on our opener. Dier proved to be once again on number three. Recovering the ball just inside the Hull half, the Tigers were caught with all but their three centre backs ahead of the play.
Michael Dawson was ludicrously deep behind Andrea Ranocchia and Curtis Davies. Harry Kane was thus afforded oceans of space to receive Dier’s pass. Kane could then easily play in Son Heung-Min who in turn found Dele Alli to score.
Hull formation change
Receiving a battering on Thursday night, Leicester changed their formation at half time. Hull also adapted at the interval. The Tigers went to a back four, but after a brief response, continued to get mauled.
Three up and cruising, Spurs started the second half very casually. A number of loose touches and passes short of their intended targets indicated a loss of focus.
Ben Davies had a moment of concern in our penalty area that almost led to a goal. Jan Vertonghen was then caught on the ball and it did. Sam Clucas robbing him as he pondered and then finishing from Niasse’s back heel in the box. Hugo Lloris’ chance of a share of the golden glove was frustratingly gone.
Left back attack response
The goal slapped Spurs back in to action. Immediately we went back to attacking the space around left back Josh Tymon.
Three minutes after conceding, the three-goal advantage was restored. A long pass up the line to Harry Kane got him in to the left back zone. Kane then laid the ball off to Christian Eriksen who was fouled by Tom Huddlestone.
We’d looked at Hull’s zone marking in the Hull City vs Spurs match preview. Untracked Victor Wanyama had a free run straight through the zone to the back post. Eriksen’s delivery found him for the simplest of headers.
Three minutes later and the score would surge to Hull City 1-5 Spurs. Again, unfortunate left back Josh Tymon was the target. A poorly over hit pass by Alfred N’Diaye put him in trouble. Tymon was unable to control the powerful pass and Dele Alli swept in to recover.
Seeing Dele with the ball, Harry Kane wheeled off in to the space that Tymon had originally been occupying. Seconds later the ball was in the back of the net from another neat left foot finish.
Left back change makes no difference
Down 5-1 and with his left back under relentless attack for four of the goals, Marco Silva brought him off. Andrew Robertson replaced Josh Tymon, but Spurs went straight at him.
Robertson conceded the foul that saw Ben Davies score a well-deserved goal. Again at the set piece, Victor Wanyama ran untracked straight through Hull’s zonal marking.
Wanyama was offside, but fortunately Vincent Janssen touched the ball first. Davies could then unleash a rocket of a drive and the score swelled to Hull City 1-6 Spurs.
The rout was complete at Hull City 1-7 Spurs with Toby Alderweireld getting on the score sheet. The goal was created through the left back zone once again. Andrew Robertson was attracted by Son Heung-Min’s inside run. Kieran Trippier was thus left in acres of space to receive the pass from Christian Eriksen and deliver the cross.
Toby Alderweireld ran off the opposite full back, Ahmed Elmohamady to make the score a staggering Hull City 1-7 Spurs in front of the jubilant away fans.
Hull City 1-7 Spurs overall
A remarkable performance to finish the Premier League season. Following Thursday night’s blistering show at Leicester, Tottenham were absolutely breathtaking in sweeping aside Hull.
Putting back-to-back performances like this together in three days is quite simply astounding. The only blemish was conceding a sloppy goal to deny Hugo Lloris a share of the golden glove.
Harry Kane won the golden boot. However, withdrawing Kane with ten minutes to go so that he couldn’t get to the landmark of 30 Premier League goals this season was disappointing. Finishing on 29, maybe this is Pochettino’s way of keeping him hungry to break this barrier next season?
The Tottenham tactics were perfect in this game. The use of the long ball to push an initially resistant Hull team back was adept. Once Tottenham had gained ground and forced them back, the pressing and through balls took their toll. The left back was our key target. Spurs battered the zone around stand-in full back Josh Tymon and subsequently Andrew Robertson.
Final score: Hull City 1-7 Spurs.
MOTM: Toby Alderweireld.