Hull 2-0 Palace
Neil Warnock’s unbeaten start as Crystal Palace manager came to an end at the KC Stadium. Second half goals from Mo Diame and Nikica Jelavic settled the game as the Eagles struggled to contain a five-man Hull midfield.
Jelavic inexcusably missed the target with a header at the back post in the opening exchanges before Palace settled into the match. The Eagles’ midfield three slowly began to stamp their authority on the game but chances were at an absolute premium as a result of excellent Hull City defending.
"Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie were fully nullified for the first time since the arrival of Warnock."
Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie were fully nullified for the first time since the arrival of Warnock. Each and every time that Palace looked to penetrate through the middle, Michael Dawson and Curtis Davis was imperious.
Frustration was getting the better of the players and patience escaped them. Instead of remaining patient they tried to force matters and making mistakes that Hull capitalised on. On the break Hull looked dangerous and had several half chances at the end of the first half but failed to find the target.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was dominated by the home side and it was only a matter of time before they inevitably opened the scoring. Diame got on to the end of a perfect cross to head past a helpless Julian Speroni.
A rasping Yannick Bolasie drive from 25 yards was brilliantly tipped over by Steve Harper and several Palace corners caused problems but the Hull defence stood firm and took full advantage of a Joe Ledley mistake, allowing Jelavic to kill the game off in the last minute of the game.
Reality Check: Tactical Shortfalls
At points in the first half we were playing some truly brilliant stuff. The understanding between the midfield was almost telepathic and the fluidity of the movement looked very impressive. On another day we would have torn Hull to shreds, but each and every man at the back for the hosts was fully on their game.
"Huddlestone moved to the point of the midfield three and he took complete control of the game."
Hull City switched back to their tried and trusted 3-5-2 formation that served them so well last season. Whilst we coped relatively well in the first half, a small tweak from Bruce in the second half completely changed the game. Huddlestone moved to the point of the midfield three and he took complete control of the game and Warnock and Palace had no answer. We simply sat by and watched the game slip away from us.
Both teams were playing three across the middle so we could match them man for man. We needed to bite the bullet and have someone shadow the former Spurs man. Instead he was given free reign and he took us apart. His ability to spray the ball wide stretched us and Robertson and Elmohamady caused us no end of issues as a result. It resulted in Joel Ward having his worst game for some time.
Then after the goal the age old Neil Warnock stepped in. The first substitution was good. Marouane Chamakh for Fraizer Campbell. Campbell was being goaded all game long by the Hull fans and it got to him. He was trying extremely hard. Too hard. If he stayed on the field much longer and I am pretty sure that he would have been sent off for committing a needless foul and getting a second yellow card. Mike Dean was, after all, looking for any excuse to give something against Palace. All afternoon he was Hull friendly and awarded a foul every time a Hull player decided to drop to the ground due to minimal contact.
"Chamakh started to affect the game immediately."
I digress. Chamakh started to affect the game immediately. Hi link up play was superb, he was finding space in between the midfield and defence and bought the wingers into play more than they had been all game. It disrupted the free flowing football that Hull were enjoying and for the first time in the game it looked like we might find a way through the dogged home defence. Basically, it gave Diame and Livermore something to think about and eradicated Huddlestone as a factor as a result as they couldn’t get the ball to him. Then came the second substitution.
"James McArthur off, Dwight Gayle on was awful."
James McArthur off, Dwight Gayle on was awful. I love Dwight Gayle but he was not the man to bring on, especially when sacrificing a central midfielder. Hull were already dominating in there when it was three against three. Making it three against two in their favour was suicidal in my mind and it proved to be the case. The promising six minutes between the Chamakh substitution and the Gayle substitution immediately came to an end and the game was gone.
Warnock has always been this way. “We are losing, I must throw strikers at it” is his philosophy and it is an awful philosophy a majority of the time. If we were 2-0 down, fine. What have you got to lose? Instead we were only one goal behind and we were finding a way back to the game through getting Chamakh on the ball. The change of shape with the second substitution took away this impetuous.
A very frustrating day, all in all.
Scott Dann Injury
Fingers crossed that Monday’s scan gives us the news that we all want. The good news that we need.
Man of the Match: Adrian Mariappa
To be thrown into a game so unexpectedly, against a team that was rampant down the flanks was tough on him. I thought that he stood up to the task pretty well. If I am honest, however, we are looking for the best of a bad bunch in what was an underwhelming performance.
Appalling. With the exception of the HF contingent that naturally did not stop singing, the rest of us were shoddy. Last season was pretty disappointing here as well. Hull must be wondering what all the fuss is about where our fans are concerned.
Up Next: Chelsea
We won at Hull last season so we are three points down there. We beat Chelsea last season. Let’s hope we can get at least a point from this one. After all, the points need to come from somewhere.
Come on you Palace.