Hull City are a team in trouble. Last season was fantastic for the Tigers, but this time around it’s disappointment after disappointment.
They were solid all season, never in relegation trouble and almost safe by January. This gave them the opportunity to launch an assault on the FA Cup without fear that their league form would suffer. What did it matter, they were safe already?
Well it seems to have mattered a great deal. Not for last season, but for this one.
Last time out they strengthened well, taking the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from Tottenham and Nikica Jelavic from Everton. It was enough to keep them in the league and enough to bring them to an FA Cup Final and secure qualification for Europe in their first year of this particular stint in the Premier League.
And then in the summer they seemed to have strengthened well again. They shored up the loans they took on and they added even more to the side. Abel Hernandez, Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa looked like good additions, adding flair to a functional side.
But it turns out they were gambles, risky deals that have possibly cost them dearly this time around.
Hull look to be suffering from ‘second season syndrome’, and they’ve got a lot to do if they’re going to recover from it and stay in the division.
In their last six games they play Arsenal, Tottenham, Man United and Liverpool. None of those are games Hull would have looked to at the start of the season as a good chance of three points, so that only leaves two games left in which points look achievable.
It means that the game against Crystal Palace this weekend becomes huge for Hull, and that’s a match against one of the ‘on the up’ teams in the league at the moment. The other game they have left is against fellow strugglers Burnley, and that won’t be an easy game either. So Hull really do have it all to do, and they’ve shown no signs this season of being capable of it.
The problem is that it’s tough to get out of a poor run of form. Bruce seems to have taken a gamble in the transfer market in order to refresh his squad after poor form at the end of last season and it hasn’t paid off.
They went out of the Europa League in the qualifying rounds and it just hasn’t picked up from that. Their form has been so bad that they are now staring relegation directly in the face. They’re not even in the drop zone, and yet they still need an escape of Harry Houdini proportions.
All in all, Hull are pretty much doomed. When it gets to the point where you can’t see where the next win is going to come from you know it’s bad.
Norwich were in the same place last year. Their poor form pulled a side that everyone thought were safe in the first half of the season into a relegation battle. And their fixtures in the last few games of the campaign were just too tough for the Canaries and they ended up going down.
Hull’s gamble in the summer hasn’t paid off, and instead they’ll pay the ultimate price unless they manage the impossible over the next six games. You feel, however, not even two wins will be enough.