Analysis: Where do Hull need to improve when they visit West Brom?

Analysis: Where do Hull need to improve when they visit West Brom?

The Tigers are looking to recover from conceding a late equaliser against Everton.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Hull City lifted themselves off the bottom of the table just before 2016 drew to a close, but the 2-2 result could have been so much better if they had not conceded a late equaliser to Everton's Ross Barkley on Friday evening.

Progress shown against a disappointing Everton side

Mike Phelan has been explaining in recent weeks his belief that Hull's "results do not match the performances they are producing" and to an extent he is correct. The Tigers looked a lot more flexible within the 3-5-2 system against Everton, with Adama Diomande and Robert Snodgrass in particular showing their versatility.

Diomande started the game as a partner for goal-shy Dieumerci Mbokani in attack, but often drifted out to the left-wing in support of Andrew Robertson, allowing Snodgrass to adopt a more offensive position.

Harry Maguire continued to pick and choose optimum moments to step out of the back three with the ball and it was another driving room that created the opportunity for Snodgrass' to fire Hull into a 2-1 lead with a curling free-kick. Albeit not quite as astute as the Barcelona way, if the Tigers can produce a similar syle against West Brom on Monday then they could cause the Baggies problems with players difficult to mark in varying positions.

Yet Hull will find a well organised unit developed by Tony Pulis that are unlikely to make the fundamental mistakes that Everton did in defence. Hull's opener in particular was avoidable with Ashley Williams failing to come across and cover Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas before the early Michael Dawson goal that saw Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry lose their men. An Everton side clearly lacking in confidence were also very static in midfield, allowing Hull players to run through, a different mindset to that you would expect from a dogged West Brom midfield.

Familiar errors need to be avoided

Similarly, Hull will have to tighten up in a number of areas if they are to avoid defeat against a Baggies side playing above expectations this season. On Friday evening they allowed Gareth Barry to run the tempo of the game with far too much time and space and almost encouraged him to start attacks before the inevitable first equaliser. The likes of Chris Brunt and Darren Fletcher will be licking their lips if they afforded such opportunities on Monday.

Hull will also have to avoid the fundamental errors that have been a consistent part of their play in the first half of the season. Firstly, they must cut out individual errors that were evident once more against Everton, as David Marshall punched into his own net and Snodgrass turned his back on Baines before the cross for Barkley's goal.

They must also tighten up in wide areas where they have conceded a large number of goals, particularly when faced with the delivery of Brunt and Matt Phillips, whilst Hal Robson-Kanu or Salomon Rondon will be lingering in the penalty area.

Finally, if Hull take the lead they will have to something about their nerves. You could almost see both Everton equalisers coming as Hull dropped deeper into their penalty area and continuously gave the ball back to their opponents. With the form West Brom showed at the end of 2016, any mistakes will be punished in the sides' first fixture of the new year.

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