Hull's strong start threatened by defensive shambles

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone, Curtis Davies and David Marshall look dejected

Hull City's strong start to the Premier League is being threatened by their struggles at the back, having conceded the most goals in the league so far.

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone, Curtis Davies and David Marshall look dejected

Newly promoted Hull City launched a surprisingly strong effort to stay in the top flight at the start of the season. The Tigers won both their opening games against Leicester and Swansea, losing just one of their first four.

Flip that statistic on its head, and it's no wins since the first two. In addition, Hull have conceded 21 goals in the seven league games since. That is an average rate of three goals a game. 

It is very hard to win football matches when you concede an average of three times a match, and so it has proved for Hull.

4-1 against Arsenal and 5-1 against Liverpool are bad results, but to lose badly to teams playing in the Champions League is one thing. To lose 6-1 to Bournemouth, a team that Hull would have expected to be finishing in and around is quite another. Even the loss to Stoke, who had just one win against bottom-placed Sunderland should have been very much an avoidable result.

Hull City's Ahmed Elmohamady looks dejected after being sent off

Discipline has been an issue too, with emergency centre-back Jake Livermore and right wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady being sent off against Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively. Difficult games to begin with were made exponentially harder by reducing the Tigers to 10 men before the break. 

The Tigers showed grit and fight in the opening two weeks, and, in fairness, have showed an ability to score. 

But their complete and utter capitulation at the back has rendered any goalscoring prowess completely irrelevant. It has been a far cry from their early performances - including their first loss of the season, 1-0 to Manchester United.

In that game, a superb defensive display was unjustly rewarded with a last-minute Marcus Rashford winner. In many of the games since, Hull have opened up and been punished for it.  

Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri in action with Hull City's Curtis Davies

Defensive solidity is something that Hull have shown they are capable of, and they must get back to basics and defend as a unit. Curties Davies is a solid defender and he must prevent panic form taking hold of his teammates in dangerous situations.

If Hull don't sort out their defensive issues, they could find themselves back in the Championship sooner than they would like.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch