Tom Huddlestone has found the going tough of late, with his form mirroring that of Hull City.
As a key man in the middle of the park, the Tigers have faltered as their creative spark has failed to fire.
When on top of his game, Huddlestone is the cog that makes Hull tick – with Steve Bruce actively encouraging his side to play through one of the finest passers of a football in the Premier League.
The England man may have struggled at times to provide the inspiration expected of him, but he was looking more like his old self at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Perhaps playing without pressure helped to bring the best out of Huddlestone and Hull, with few expecting the Tigers to get much change out of reigning champions Manchester City.
Bruce’s side executed their game plan perfectly, though, and came agonisingly close to claiming a notable scalp and much-needed win in their battle to beat the drop.
While things could have been better, Hull will take a credible 1-1 draw and look to build upon it.
Huddlestone will be crucial from this point on, with the former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker showing at City that he is a man for the big occasion and capable of overshadowing more expensive top-flight rivals.
|Match||Total Tackle||Won Tackle||Duel Won||Duel Lost||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Fwd Pass||Ball Recovery||Mins Played|
|Tom Huddlestone||Man City vs Hull City||5||2||7||2||34||25||12||8||90|
|Fernando||Man City vs Hull City||0||0||3||5||28||22||7||2||45|
Huddlestone looked to get involved against City, making tackles and putting his sizeable frame to good use in the Hull engine room – with only two duels lost.
In contrast, midfield counterpart Fernando – a man the BBC suggest cost £12 million last summer - managed to come off second best in five physical battles.
He managed to post those concerning figures in just 45 minutes of action, with Manuel Pellegrini taking the decision to haul the Brazilian off at half-time.
His ineffectual display saw him misplace seven passes and look to get City moving forward with just 25 per cent of those efforts, while Huddlestone was on the front foot with a little over one in three of his.
The Hull man also bossed proceedings when it came to getting the ball back, and it is likely that his display contributed to the early removal of Fernando from an under-performing home side.