Can anyone remember the last time Hull City won a Premier League game? December 6th at home to Middlesbrough was the last time. Since then, they have been very much in freefall. When Hull first arrived in the Premiership, they were tipped to go straight back down but decided to tear up the script and go to well established top flight sides like Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United and win. How dare they!
Since then however, Hull have had a bit of a reality check. Despite two very credible draws at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, a couple of resounding batterings from Manchester City and Sunderland, accompanied with some less humiliating defeats and the odd draw have seen Hull fall into thirteenth. By all means this is a respectable position but the worrying thing for Phil Brown’s side is that they are looking over their shoulder now, rather than towards the dizzy heights of Europe that their early season form suggested.
The run of form that they are in at the moment suggests only one thing; a relegation scrap. This is the last thing that they would have wanted or expected at the time of their last league win but have struggled to maintain the kind of form that shocked the world before Christmas. Credit to Brown, he acknowledged their slump and tried to shake things up by bringing in some new faces, most notably Manucho on loan from Manchester United (to replace the outgoing Marlon King) and record signing Jimmy Bullard from Fulham. The latter however seems to have backfired for the time being as Bullard required further surgery to his troublesome knee and is out for the remainder of the season having only made one substitute appearance for the Tigers.
A problem that is still rectifiable this season though is their home form. The KC Stadium has hardly been a fortress having picked up just three wins in the league there all season. Perhaps this is because it is a welcoming venue for travelling teams with nice facilities and doesn’t boast the most hostile of atmospheres. If a team is to avoid the drop, it is often their home form that will decide it. Stoke City are a good example of a side who are making the most of their home territory and in turn made themselves very difficult to beat there. Hull’s next three home games all come against sides who are in the relegation mix and the phrase ‘six pointer’ starts to take on some real meaning. Sunday’s match against a rejuvenated Blackburn Rovers is a crucial match and a win for Hull could spark a run that results in a comfortable finish to the season and doesn’t require the need for a positive result against Manchester United on the final day. Newcastle United and Portsmouth are the following home games for Hull while upcoming trips to Fulham, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Sunderland suggest that Hull should pick up enough points to survive.
Most neutrals would like to see Hull stay up, purely because of the way they shook things up in the opening weeks of the season and think it would be a waste to then throw it all away. Hull have achieved a lot in a short space of time and sending them back to the drawing board now would be harsh. However, you only stay up if you’re good enough and time will tell.