The way Hull City started the season made for a great positive atmosphere around the KCOM Arena, who entered the campaign without manager Steve Bruce, who had guided them back to Premier League football, and with uncertainties surrounding the ownership of the club.
The stand-in manager Mike Phelan got them off to a great start, leading them to three wins in their first three games, with two of them coming in the league against Leicester City and Swansea City and the other one in the EFL Cup against Exeter City. Considering the fact that the club were without a permanent manager, with a squad stretched to bare-thin due to injury issues and a lack of investment in the summer, the spirits were high at that moment with the start they made.
However, things started to unravel soon for the Tigers. From being in the top half of the table, Hull soon found themselves languishing in the bottom three of the table. There were glimpses of fighting spirit in between, but more often than not, the Tigers found themselves on the losing side. As a result, a change of regime ensued in January, with the club letting go of Phelan and bringing in Portuguese boss Marco Silva.
There was a sign of renaissance sparked by the arrival of the new manager, new players arrived and made an immediate impact. But the Tigers still find themselves in the bottom three, at 18th place, three points off the 17th placed Swansea City. With the threat of relegation still looming large for Hull, here we come up with a five-point plan for the Tigers to ensure safety:
Win The Six-Pointers
The primary task that Hull should set themselves as they chase the safety from the drop zone will be to the get the maximum points against teams that are involved in the relegation scramble along with them.
Hull will be playing three sides that find themselves embroiled to avoid the drop in the coming weeks when they welcome 19th-placed Middlesbrough to the KCOM Arena a week after the return from international break. With Boro struggling for form, three points are there for the taking. Following Boro, they will take on bottom-placed Sunderland and 16th placed Crystal Palace and if they manage to win these fixtures, Hull will be well-placed to survive the drop.
Get Points Against Mid-Table Sides
Hull City will be facing the likes of Stoke City, West Ham United, Southampton, and Watford in the coming weeks, who are all placed mid-table.
The Tigers have lost to all these sides (except to Southampton) this term in the league. But considering the fact that West Ham haven’t been at their best in recent weeks and Watford struggling with injury issues, Hull have a great chance to hit those teams for points. The Bet365 Stadium will prove to be an intimidating venue to travel, but if Hull manage to get a point against Stoke and repeat their early season performance against the Saints, that should aid them greatly in their bid for survival.
Feed Oumar Niasse
The January arrivals have made a decent impact upon arriving and loan signing of Oumar Niasse has stood out the most for the Tigers.
The loanee, having arrived from Everton, without playing first-team football at all, has hit the ground running and has added a threatening presence up front for Hull. In eight league appearances with the Tigers, the 26-year old has scored three times, two of them coming in a crucial 2-1 win over Swansea City. Niasse also scored a goal in Hull’s 2-1 win over Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-finals as well. If they manage to keep him fit and feed him with service, Niasse, with his goals, could prove to be the difference maker.
Establish Defensive Solidity
Stopping the leakage of goals will be crucial if Hull are to avoid the drop this season. Hull have conceded 58 goals this season, the second-most in the Premier League with only Swansea (63) letting in more than them. Even Sunderland (40) and Middlesbrough (33), who are below the Tigers in the table have shipped in considerably less amount of goals.
The loss of Curtis Davies to injury has hurt them badly, but in Andrea Ranocchia and Harry Maguire, they have able centre-halves who have the ability to thwart the opposition attackers. It is imperative that they get their defensive organization tight and solid if they are to continue in the top division next term.
Make The Most Of May
Hull will play three games in the month of May, two of them will be at home against bottom placed Sunderland and Champions League spot contenders Tottenham Hotspur. They will also be on road to take on Crystal Palace in between these two games.
If the Tigers manage to get at least four points from the six that are up for grabs at home and hit Palace for the maximum points, they would be taking a good seven points out of three games. This should leave them in a strong position to stay in the Premier League for next season.