Football

Tigers have lost their bite in attacking third

At least Tigers are tight at the back – thanks to Ayala and Co. (©PAphotos)
At least Tigers are tight at the back – thanks to Ayala and Co. (©PAphotos).

Hull City will be delighted to have persuaded Liverpool to allow them to keep young Spanish defender Daniel Ayala until the end of 2010. 

Ayala has been hugely impressive since joining City, initially on a one month loan and has linked up with Anthony Gerrard - another loanee from Cardiff - to give the Tigers a resolute looking central defence. 

This was demonstrated again in the goalless home draw with Nottingham Forest. If I say so myself, I did predict a draw between City and Forest and I was not surprised to see it end without a goal.

The Tigers’ front pairing of Craig Fagan and Jay Simpson rarely looked like unlocking the Forest back four and it was only in the second half that the visitors exerted some pressure on the City defence but without any success. 

City's lack of fire-power will be a serious concern for Hull boss Nigel Pearson. His options in the attacking positions are severely limited and he must be hoping that new signing Simpson will soon attain full fitness and start to repay some of his £800,000 fee with goals. 

Caleb Folan is still around two weeks away from full fitness and young Mark Cullen remains the only alternative at present.

Many fans feel a target man is the answer and City are being linked with a tall centre forward at a Premier League club...thought to be Jay Emmanuel-Thomas of Arsenal who had a loan spell at Doncaster last season. 

Emmanuel-Thomas can play as both a striker and a midfielder and would be an interesting option as he is a young player highly rated by Arsene Wenger. Only 19, he has yet to gain a regular place at Arsenal and may get another chance out on loan to show he has the hunger to succeed at the Emirates. 

Whether manager Pearson will continue with his present midfield balance will be interesting this coming weekend as City go to in-form Norwich City. Having dispensed with captain Ian Ashbee who has been on the bench for the last two games, Pearson has gone with four ball playing midfielders.  

At times though, despite the skills on show, this has seen City lack width and fluency and too often one or more of the midfield four have drifted out of the game for periods and have struggled to exert enough influence.

Jimmy Bullard though, picked as man of the match by the fans against Forest, looks the most likely to create chances and his long range shooting was the main highlight of a rather dull game on Saturday. 

City will be pleased with four points out of six with two away games to come and the opportunity is there to end their disastrous away form. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

 

Topics:
Jimmy Bullard
Football
Championship
Craig Fagan
Anthony Gerrard
Daniel Ayala
Hull City

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