Hull have made an impressive start to this year’s Premier League campaign, notching 20 points by the halfway stage prior to today's loss to Manchester United. If they can finish on 40 points by the end of the season, they have a great chance of staying up and in Steve Bruce they have a vastly experienced manager who can guide them to safety.
Some astute signings have paid dividends for the Tigers and only a lack of firepower up front has hindered them taking more points this season. However. they’re resilient against teams around them, losing only to Palace and have tabled impressive wins over Newcastle and Liverpool on their way to 12th place in the league.
Bruce pulled off a great bit of business in securing the services of Tom Huddlestone from Spurs in the summer and the midfielder has been integral to Hull this season. Playing every minute of Premier League football bar the opening game against Chelsea, Huddlestone’s anchoring role in a three-man midfield allows him to break up the play, while his range of passing helps bring the rampaging wing-backs that Bruce deploys into play.
He may not be one for scoring goals, but he does the dirty work at the back and can be a creative influence for the Tigers. He also brings experience which is invaluable to any newly-promoted team.
One to watch
Hull have won five games so far this campaign and winger Robbie Brady has netted goals in three of them. He scored the solitary goal in narrow wins over Norwich and West Ham (both of who are currently closer to relegation than Hull) and also equalised against Newcastle before the Tigers eventually went on to win.
Admittedly two of those goals were penalties, but Brady is still Hull’s top scorer so far and will be looking for more goals in the second half of the season. Usually deployed wide left, the Republic of Ireland international has played a variety of midfield roles and is likely to chip in with more goals before the season is through.
Top of their Christmas list?
Hull have only scored more than once on two occasions this season and summer signings Danny Graham and Yannick Sagbo aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders. Hull don’t have endless amounts of cash, but they could look to the Championship to find a striker to supplement their forward line.
Apart from that, Bruce can be relatively happy with his lot; for the money spent, his side is efficient and effective. Goals is the main issue for a side who have scored just 16 in 18 games.
I wanted to back Hull at the start of the season and found myself doubting their ability to survive. The first half of the season has changed all that, with the side averaging more than a point a game at the current stage.
A repeat of that form in 2014 will surely see them safe and in Bruce they have an experienced manager who knows the Premier League. Their counter attacking style has paid off and helped them earn invaluable points against the teams around them, and they’ve also coped admirably against teams at the top. Hull can survive, and I’m sure they’re going to do it: 16th
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