Hull City 0 Leeds United 0
Oh my word, what to say after that game? I’ll not say much about the game itself, suffice to say the highlight was the music and light show and the pyrotechnics that welcomed the players onto the pitch. It was all downhill after that but others have perfectly adequately described the match itself which was, in summary, a poor game between two very poor sides.
I was convinced even before we began this match that our season was already over – we are playing poorly with little cohesion against even the weakest sides in the table and we are about to embark on a run of games against the best of the Championship. Add to that the continuing absence of Saiz, perhaps our most inventive and creative player and Luke Ayling who always gives us some push and life and I don’t see how we are going to suddenly transform into a side capable of beating the likes of Cardiff, Sheffield United, Bristol City, Derby, Brentford, Boro and Wolves who we face one after the other in the next five weeks. We are well and truly stuck in a rut at the moment with both form and luck deserting us.
If we are looking for positives then we can at least note that Adam Forshaw looked a good acquisition, giving a performance last night not unlike to the ones we saw from Liam Bridcutt when he arrived at a similar time last season. Like Bridcutt, Forshaw may prove to be an important piece of our midfield jigsaw; an experienced and confident player who can get stuck in and affect the game and lead by example. We saw another strong and steady, if not spectacular, performance from Laurens De Bock too and so that left back berth looks resolved defensively for the time being although he looks limited going forward. Our man of the match last night was probably Felix Wiedwald despite a bit of a Faulty Towers moment in the second half when he decided he was going to play the Beckenbauer sweeper role. So, three players who looked the part; sadly, three from eleven isn’t enough.
It was unfortunate that we lost Pennington before the game even kicked off and then Shaughnessy just six minutes into the game so that our back line was makeshift to say the least; I’d hazard a guess we will never again see a back four of Dallas, Jansson, Berardi and De Bock but it did a job on the night and wasn’t our major problem. The major problem was that Ronnie Vieira had a stinker and Kemar Roofe is starting to look like a player who is never going to quite reach the necessary level to help us be a force going forward. I’m going to put Vieira’s shortcomings down to inexperience and youth but Roofe is starting to look like a lost cause. Again last night his lack of pace and stamina let him down and he even looks weak in a challenge and almost disinterested. I have always been his biggest fan and we have seen some glimpses of quality but bluntly, he’s not giving us enough. Lasogga is still for me only marginally better but we do know that he can be deadly with his finishing and so it is up to the rest of the team to give him the chances to continue doing that. Pablo Hernandez was poor last night too but, like Vieira, we know he can play and we have to put it down as a bad night in the office. Hull’s game plan was clearly to be as physical as they could get away with and that disrupted our midfield almost as much as our own shortcomings. Hull got pulled up for 21 fouls last night, a stat you will rarely see as high with the usual being around 12 or 14. Ours was 14 out of interest and several Hull tackles would have been more suited to the game with the oval ball.
I think all of our planning should now be focussed on next season and I’m happy for that to include Thomas Christiansen as long as we can provide him with another three or four quality players who can come straight into the first team match day squad. I’d definitely like to see another centre back, a striker and a winger who can actually do that job with Sacko, Cibicki and Alioski still all coming up short of what I’d like to see. If we can then keep the rest that we currently have I think we’d have a capable squad that could cope with the inevitable injuries and suspensions as well as being strong enough to battle their way out of the Championship. Until then, every game is going to be a struggle and I’ll be amazed if we don’t end February lower than the 10th spot we currently occupy. It’s a time of patience now and to accept that we didn’t quite equip ourselves sufficiently well for this campaign.
Hull City Leeds Utd
Possession 56% 44%
Shots 14 6
On Target 7 0
Corners 7 3
Fouls 21 14