Steve Bruce’s tigers were denied a fantastic victory at the Emirates last Saturday by a late Danny Wellbeck equaliser and their disappointment about the result shows how much they have moved on since the days of Phil Brown and Ian Dowie.
Hull City so far this season have collected 10 points from 8 games, which isn’t a bad turnover considering they’ve played Manchester City and Arsenal. Once again, Steve Bruce is getting the credit he deserves with his sides impressive determination to get points from challenging games.
Throughout his time he has transformed individuals into becoming solid Premier League players. For instance, Curtis Davis has been at top flight clubs in the past such as West Brom and Villa but hasn’t quite performed up to the standard of a Premier League centre-back. However, since Bruce bought the Luton born defender in on Hull’s return to the Premier League he’s been an essential figure in their side.
Other acquisitions such as Michel Dawson and Nikica Jelavic have certainly showed the rest of the league that Hull are ready to challenge for a top ten place. With Tom Huddlestone at the centre of their spine they certainly have a player who can dictate and run certain football games. Steve Bruce has managed to add Premier League quality and balance to a side that severely lacked it in their last top flight spell.
The concern for the Tigers this season is if they can match up to the expectations of last year. Being involved in the FA Cup final was a fantastic achievement for the club but their immediate exit from Europe has shortened the celebrations. The reward for getting to the final of the cup was for Bruce’s boys to challenge in Europe and one can only think that the Hull fans were disappointed with their efforts to get through to the group stages.
The European exit meant that Hull once again could give the English tournaments a good challenge. However, a 3rd round defeat to West Brom knocked them out of their second tournament of the season. One way to look at it is that Hull can now focus on trying to get in the top half of the Premier League but a cup run is still appealing for any side.
Hull have made their way over the last couple of seasons by playing hard working players. Midfielders such as Robert Koren in the Championship had a strong work ethos and their promotion reflected that. Last year, the introduction of Jake Livermore gave Hull’s midfield a burst of pace and you would often see the young England international work harder than any other player on the pitch.
Hull have brought in Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez, two luxury midfielders. Last year at Newcastle, Ben Arfa had his problems with Alan Pardew and team mates for not working hard and for not releasing the ball quick enough. Gaston Ramirez had similar problems and didn’t impress new Southampton manager Ronaldo Koeman who came to the decision to loan the winger out. Steve Bruce is a manager that can change players for the better so all being well Hull have two very good wingers in their side but they’re surely players who need to improve further and re-establish themselves once again.
Fans are currently still against owner Assem Allam on the name change of the club. This could cause problems on and off the field; as often fans unrest has led to team’s performing worse in games. Despite the owner pumping a lot of dosh into the club, the fans want to stick to their traditional name rather than being called Hull Tigers. Should Allam eventually get his way, then surely you will have an outburst of rants and marches protesting against the name change. Something that the owner needs to take into consideration if he wants a happy club.
Steve Bruce’s consistent link with jobs, particularly the England job could also prove to be a distraction for the Tigers. If you remember two years ago, when Harry Redknapp was linked with job, Spurs football on the pitch wasn’t as strong and they started losing games. If all these distractions take place then Hull could be in for a harder season than expected.
By Jack Rubery – West Bromwich Albion fan – @