It would be fair to say that for Hull City this season hasn’t gone as planned. Just about everybody involved with the club has been blamed from owners to players to supporters. However, I believe the most important factor in Hull City’s struggles this season is the fact that we are now at Easter and still the Tigers best starting eleven is not yet known. So let’s go through each position and look at why Hull City’s best team is still a mystery.
Goalkeeper: A pretty straight forward position, with Eldin Jakupovic sold in the summer and David Marshall injured for the start of the season, Allan McGregor was the club’s only senior GK for the opening day of the season. Consistent performances have seen him keep his place in the starting eleven for all league matches this season, bar one when Marshall played against Norwich at home and conceded four. A no brainer really, Allan McGregor is the man.
Right back: With three right backs available, this should be a very competitive position but due to Moses Odubajo’s absence with injury since July 2016 and Brian Lenihan seemingly vanished from the club without any word, it has been young Chelsea loanee Ola Aina who has nailed down this spot in the side. Mistakes are common in his game but he has improved over the course of the season and has overall been a solid acquisition. Odubajo would still comfortably get into the side ahead of him though and everybody looks forward to his return.
Centre back: Two places in the team that have had no consistent combination. With Michael Dawson seemingly being undroppable, it was at first Michael Hector who looked to be the man to pair Dawson for the upcoming season, until his form dropped and Ondrej Mazuch came in with some decent performances a few months in. Mazuch’s season has been constantly disrupted with injury though, so Hector filled back in when needed, along with the occasional appearance in Fikayo Tomori. But come January, Mazuch was the only centre back under contract beyond the end of the season so in came Angus MacDonald from Barnsley who played really well alongside Dawson up until Millwall (H) where a bad performance has seen him dropped ever since. At time of writing, Hull City play Aston Villa tonight and despite there only being a few games of the season to go, I have no clue who will line up alongside Dawson, as has been the case the whole season. For me, I would start Mazuch alongside MacDonald but I’m not the manager, so what do I know?
Left back – Despite some solid performances in the opening games of the season Max Clark was dropped in September in favour of new signing Stephen Kingsley. Kingsley was then ruled out for “a few weeks” with injury just a few games into his Hull City career. It is now April and Kingsley is still side-lined. Clark has done a great job deputising but I’m sure Kingsley will come straight into the starting eleven on his return, especially with young Clark being out of contract in the summer. Overall, Clark is good but Kingsley is likely better.
Defensive midfield – A position Seb Larsson as made his own for the whole season, alongside Jackson Irvine in recent weeks, these two make quite a good pairing with Larsson sitting back giving Irvine the license to get forward. These is competition for this place with David Meyler and Kevin Stewart waiting in the wings but for the rest of the season, I cant see the pairing of Larsson and Irvine being changed. On a side note, Ryan Mason would have walked into the team had he not announced his retirement in February.
Right wing – Jarrod Bowen.
Attacking midfield – Probably the position with the least consistency, we started the season with Markus Henriksen in this role. Jon Toral and Jackson Irvine were then signed and the three have been swapped in and out of the number 10 role all season, whilst Evandro continued recovering from his “two week injury” which didn’t see him start a match until February. Flashes of quality were shown from the Brazilian but an injury against Sheffield United on his third start of the season ended his season prematurely. As it stands Henriksen occupies this position but no player has made it their own. Still up for grabs. Personally, I don’t have a clue who I’d pick.
Left wing – Bit of a strange one really. Kamil Grosicki should have this position nailed down, as he did for the first half of the season until for a few matches Adama Diomande stepped into the role while Grosicki was out with an “injury”. However, on deadline day in came young Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson who has either scored or assisted in almost every match so far. What a player. £9 million signing and Poland international benched by player who’s last experience of senior football was at Crewe. And rightly so. Forgot to say, I think James Weir is a left winger but nobody really knows where he plays. Unfortunately ruled out for the season with injury but it’s unlikely he would be chosen ahead of Grosicki or Wilson.
Striker – With Slutsky and Adkins both opting for one up top this season there has been quite a lot of competition for places. With obvious first choice Abel Hernandez ruled out from August to February with injury and Will Keane unavailable until the end of January. It was between Frazier Campbell, Nouha Dicko, Adama Diomande and Greg Luer to fight it out. Looking back I think it’s fair to say nobody grabbed the striker position by the scruff of the neck and made it their own. Campbell is decent but has fitness issues and isn’t the Campbell of old, Dicko has scored four goals and put in some solid performances but not really enough to really threaten Hernandez’s position, Diomande rarely makes the squad and Greg Luer played mostly in the U23’s and is now on loan at Maidstone United. The fact that Hernandez has scored 6 goals in 4 games at the KCOM Stadium this season is telling as to how much the club has missed him this season. Now he is back he is one of the first names on the team sheet. Until he leaves at the end of the season for free. Great business from the Allams there. (sarcasm)
Hull City team with most appearances this season: McGregor, Aina, Dawson, Hector, Clark, Larsson, Irvine, Bowen, Henriksen, Grosicki, Dicko.
Hull City strongest XI: McGregor, Odubajo, Mazuch, MacDonald, Kingsley, Larsson, Irvine, Bowen, Henriksen, Wilson, Abel H.
There’s always next season I guess.
Do you agree with these opinions Hull fans? Let us know in the comments below!