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2016-17 Hull City Season Preview

Hull City spent last season playing in the second tier of English football, a product of a poor 2014-15 season. With the club securing promotion back to the English Premier League, they’ll be hoping for a more fruitful endeavour this time around. And, given some of the players at the club, that might just be the case for The Tigers.

2016-17 Hull City Season Preview

Looking Back At Last Season

Hull City spent the 2015-16 campaign down in the dogfight more appropriately known as the Football League Championship. Being relegated to the Championship can sometimes come as too much of a challenge, and some clubs have fallen further in quick succession. With the loss of Premier League revenue, most of their top players to larger clubs; and with more games to be played, it’s no small task to gain promotion.

In their 46 matches in the Championship last season, Hull had a relatively impressive 24-11-11 record, securing a play-off spot and putting them firmly in fourth place. Along with the impressive record, they also were tied for the second best defensive record in the league, letting in only 35 goals. And, to accompany their solid defensive record, they scored 69 goals as well during the campaign, good for fourth most. Their +34 goal difference was also good for second best in the league, only behind fellow “bounce-back” club Burnley.

After securing a play-off spot they were drawn to play Derby County, who finished one spot below them in the table, in the play-off semifinal. They won the first leg in convincing fashion as they knocked the ball into the back of the net three times. Despite Derby playing an impressive second leg, it wasn’t enough and Hull City advanced 3-2 on aggregate. The other side of the play-offs saw Sheffield Wednesday advance 3-1 on aggregate over Brighton & Hove Albion. And in the final, “the most expensive match in football”, Mohamed Diame was the only scorer as Hull City secured a return to the promise land.

Players To Watch

Abel Hernandez

Hernandez, who was the club record signing in 2014, has had his ups and downs since joining the Tigers, but last season was all good for the Uruguayan. Hernandez finished last year as the third highest scorer in the Championship with 20 goals, behind only Ross McCormack, formerly of Fulham, and Andre Gray of Burnley.

You have to take a 20 goal season in The Championship with a pinch of salt when gaining promotion, as Hernandez is unlikely to score that many this season in the Premier League. However, even if he doesn’t bag himself another 20 goals, he will still play a pivotal role in Hull’s quest to stay at the top of the football pyramid.

Andrew Robertson

Robertson is a promising young fullback, and since joining Hull back in July 2014 has established himself as a first team regular. Last season he was able to chip in with three goals and four assists from the back. Very solid numbers from someone who plays most of his football in defence. He also played a fair amount of football in Hull City’s last Premier League campaign in 2014-15, where he made 24 appearances in the league, with 17 of them being starts.

Robertson is a very strong dribbler on the left wing, and this helps Hull create more opportunities from the back, something Robertson will look to continue doing in the top flight. He is also a very smart passer of the ball and creates a good amount of chances, in comparison to other fullbacks. If Hull are to secure Premier League safety this year, Robertson will surely have to continue his form and help create opportunities like he did last season.

Managerial Situation

Something that is surely weighing heavy on the mind of all Hull City supporters is who will be leading them into the Premier League for the 2016-17 season. With Steve Bruce leaving the club this summer, it has put a giant question mark on what to expect from the upcoming season. Bruce spent 201 matches in charge of Hull City in which he had a sound record of 82-44-75.

The biggest name the club has been linked with to bring in as the new coach is Wales National Team manager, Chris Coleman. However, he is thought to be ready to turn down the offer in favour of staying with his current employer. Other managers who have been linked with the club are Neil Warnock, Mike Phelan, Steve McClaren, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, and Bob Bradley. With the season rapidly approaching supporters are surely getting anxious as to who will be in charge.

Key Matches

The first key match for Hull in their return to the Premier League will surely be their season opener against defending champions Leicester City. Barring any unforeseen circumstances they will likely be happy to come out of this match with a single point. But despite the odds being heavily against them in this encounter, it will set the tone for the season to come, and that is why it is key they start the season positively.

The other key matches will be against the likes of fellow newly-promoted clubs Burnley and Middlesbrough. The matches against these two, and other clubs who will likely be dwelling in the bottom half of the table will be vital matches to take points from to ensure their safety. Other matches they need to take points from will be those against West Brom, Sunderland, Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace.

What To Expect From This Season

Hull have a solid squad, with many of the players on it having prior experience in the Premier League, and this should give them a good chance for a respectable season. And with most of the players that have given them their recent success returning, there is definitely reason for hope heading into this season. One of the main worries, however, is who the next manager will be and what effect this will have on their attempt to secure consecutive top flight campaigns.

Don’t expect Hull to challenge for midtable, and look for them to be among the bottom of the table for most of the season, possibly fighting relegation come the end of the season. There are talented and experienced players at their disposal, but without a manager or any high quality players, the bottom half of the table seems to look like where they will firmly sit this season.

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