Saturday, 6 February 2010

Hull 2 - 1 City

  • A serious set-back to our dreams of fourth place. The result is bad - although our games in hand mean that we're still not relying on other teams - but the performance was a sickener. For an hour we were worse than useless - worse than we were at Goodison Park, almost as bad as we were at White Hart Lane. Hull were all over us from the outset; braver, keener, stronger, first to everything all over the pitch. We improved in the last half hour, having made two changes. But if the first hour is the precedent that we follow we've got no chance of fourth.
  • Where to start? How about the defence: we showed today how much we missed Vincent Kompany. Kolo Touré might wear an armband but he's no captain. Without his fellow Belgian by his side Dedryck Boyata looked lost. Boyata and Touré were savaged by Jozy Altidore and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Their strength and movement was too much for our defenders. Hull's first goal was a combination between the two, and it had certainly been coming. And, with all due respect etc etc, this was Jozy Altidore and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink! They're not exactly Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
  • That said, our defence was under more pressure than they ought to have been, thanks to another no-show from our midfield. A three of Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry and Stephen Ireland failed to exert any control over the game whatsoever. Hull entirely outfought us for the first hour, and 2-0 did not flatter them. At the start of the season I hoped that we would play 4-3-3 with a de Jong/Barry/Ireland triangle in the middle. But I don't think it has worked since the 2-2 at Anfield months ago.
  • For what it's worth, we did improve once Patrick Vieira and Adam Johnson came on. Vieira added strength and authority to the midfield, while Johnson's pace and ability brightened up our attacking play. Emmanuel Adebayor bundled in a corner and for the last thirty minutes we exerted some pressure, even if we only created a few half-chances. It was disappointing to fail to rescue a point, but if you don't show up until the hour mark you don't deserve anything.
  • This game looked tantalisingly 'could-win'. And we are in a tantalisingly competitive position. Before our nightmare trip to Stamford Bridge on February 28 we've got Bolton and Liverpool at home and Stoke City away in the league. Seven points from those three would be an excellent return - six would probably be fine - but if we continue to play like this we've got no chance.


Steven McInerney said...

Became increasingly obvious yesterday that Kompany is our best centre half....and if he is first choice i'd have him ahead of NDJ as captain too. He's a real old school leader.

Kompany and Lescott at centre-half, Richards and Bridge either side. Richards looks a better bet than Zab at the moment.

By far the most frustrating thing yesterday was the baffling substitutions. We had absolutely no width for the first sixty minutes and we did nothing down the middle, rendering our midfield useless. Mancini brings Johnson on. We have width. We score. Two minutes later we're back at square one as we take off a winger and put on a defensive midfielder. Baffling. The problem arises again.

If we're gonna play 4-4-2 we need to do it properly with two wingers.

The positives were the subs. Johnson in particular.

Trevbrierley said...

I think the first post 'useless' summed it up quite well. This was a really disappointing result - just when we could have looked like real contenders for the top four. It's no use relying on the two games in hand when we revert to 'typical city' as we'll lose them both if we turn in performances like this.

When are we playing them anyway?

Why didn't we play Everton last week? We were both free.