October 24, 2015 by jaquobcrooke98
By Jaquob Crooke
I’m not quite sure whether you would call Saturday’s result a reality check. It would be better described as perhaps an indication; a signal of the ability and depth of teams that Blues will have to compete against if they want to achieve their ambitions of competing towards the top end of the Championship. Despite heading into the game on the back of four impressive league successes whilst maintaining an unbeaten away record, there were many reasons to justify Blues as the underdog.
Hull City have slowly but surely got into the groove of things – current league leaders Brighton were the last team to beat Steve Bruce’s side which was well over a month ago. And when a side that possesses a vast array of talent in all departments that coincides with a clear strength in depth, then you certainly don’t want to face them when they’re beginning to gain momentum.
For the opening thirty minutes, Blues had managed to thwart the home side with a typically composed display. The introduction of Jonathan Spector as the holding midfielder had seemed to pay dividends for Rowett in terms of protecting the back four but an apparent defensive mindset resulted in Blues inviting far too much pressure.
Inevitably Blues’ resistance was shattered when Sam Clucas sent in a deep cross that ended up at the feet of Ahmed Elmohamady before he teed up David Meyler to slot the ball in the bottom left hand corner. The response from Blues was something we have grown un-used to this season. Well not even this season, perhaps the entire year under Rowett. Two minutes after Meyler opened the scoring, Uruguayan Abel Hernandez was allowed to swivel in Blues’ penalty area and smash home a volley past the unsighted Tomasz Kuszczak. This was after Hull’s left back Andy Robertson was allowed to dance his way from one end of the pitch to the other, neither Jacques Maghoma nor Paul Caddis making a tackle stick. A cheap cheap goal to concede on Blues’ behalf – a goal that certainly put any hope of a win out of sight.
The half time introductions of Andy Shinnie and David Cotterill failed to bare any fruit as Blues pressed for a goal, as Rowett’s side clearly lacked a sharp cutting edge in the final third and Steve Bruce’s Hull seemed the more likely side to score the third goal of the game; Kuszczak responsible for denying the Tigers on numerous occasions, most noticeably his low stop against Chuba Akpom. It was yet another impressive display from the Pole, again proving what a valuable asset he is to this Blues side.
Questions have been asked concerning today’s team selection; was Rowett too negative? Should Shinnie have started? Why was Spector selected ahead of David Davis? The formation and selection was completely understable. The idea of soaking up pressure and playing on the counter perhaps would have been successful if Blues were a bit more confident and didn’t sit so deep, whilst also being braver and clinical when going forward. But let’s not forget, we have come up against what can be argued as a Premier League side; they’ve held onto key players and added around them, and the contrast in squad depth between Hull and Blues is there for everyone to see.
So there you have it, we might have lost 2-0 on the day but there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about. Morale in the squad should still be sky high, and expect a positive reaction from this Blues side in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday. Wolves look vulnerable at the back and testing Emiliano Martinez between the sticks may be a key aspect to winning the game. Plus I’d say we’ve got one of the toughest fixtures out the way, so hopefully the normal winning service will resume.