Chelsea increased their lead at the top of the Premier League after beating a resolute Hull City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Both teams pressed and both teams had good opportunities however Hull’s choices when they had the ball let them down, giving the leaders many chances to come back at a weary defence.
Both teams pressed high, creating chances and causing mistakes for both teams
Chelsea largely dominated the extended first half after Ryan Mason’s unfortunate injury, which led to Abel Hernandez and Sam Clucas chasing the ball. Hull did enjoy some possession in which Chelsea pressed highly causing the Tigers defenders to hit the ball long, allowing Chelsea to come back just as quickly.
Chelsea played the ball around confidently throughout the middle of the park and Hull chased around and did cause them to make a few mistakes creating opportunities for Hull to put some pressure on the League Leaders. The second half saw Hull remain on the front foot for the majority of the half.
When they did lose the ball, they pressed with intent and created more chances with Harry Maguire flashing a couple of efforts past the post and David Meyler, Mason’s replacement, stung the gloves of Courtois for a great save.
Hull’s height will be vital
It took 50 minutes for the best team in England to break down the Tigers by switching their attacking style from crosses in the air to crosses driven on the floor. On all but one occasion, Hull’s defence, Maguire especially dealt with corners and crosses Chelsea were putting into the box.
At the other end, Maguire broke free to head the ball into Thibaut Courtois’ gloves and in the second period, they caused confusion in the box and Michael Dawson had a shot saved causing another corner. In this second half of the season, Hull’s aerial ability should help win them a few more points which could be the difference between relegation and safety.
Discipline and composure needs to improve
Three of Hull’s back five were cautioned, Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies both went into the referee’s book early in the first half with Andrew Robertson joining them in the second. Davies was lucky and could have gone in the first half as well as he caught Pedro with a late challenge which would normally warrant a yellow card. The last thing Hull need is key players being suspended thanks to silly tackles in the latter half of the season, especially when depth is a problem anyway.
Many times in the game, Hull played the wrong pass when a much simpler and better option was available. Also, most of the time they had possession they ended up by hitting the ball long hopelessly which just gave Chelsea an opportunity to attack and tire out the Tigers’ defensive unit.
If Hull want to pick up points after performances like today, they need to iron out these issues and put away chances when they have them. Even though they should have had a penalty at 1-0, they didn’t create much because of these misjudgements.