Scouting Report: Hull City v Arsenal

We return to Premier League action against Hull City on Saturday, and ahead of the game tactical expert Michael Cox examines their strengths, dangermen and the area for Arsenal to target.


Mike Phelan is still officially only Hull's caretaker manager, but having worked wonders with a limited squad at the start of the campaign and winning August's Manager of the Month award, there is speculation he'll sign a permanent contract soon.

Phelan rose to prominence during his spell at Manchester United's assistant manager during the last half-decade of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign. Although not spoken of as highly as former assistants like Steve McClaren and Carlos Queiroz, Phelan has stressed his desire to become a manager in his own right - and is now proving he has the ability.


Phelan has named exactly the same starting XI in all four Premier League games so far, although with those 11 players he has the capability of playing either 4-3-3 or 4-4-2.

4-3-3 is most likely, with powerful Uruguayan forward Abel Hernandez leading the line, and Adama Diomande powering forward from a left-sided starting position. However, Diomande can be fielded as a second striker, with right-winger Robert Snodgrass dropping into a deeper position alongside David Meyler, Tom Huddlestone and Sam Clucas in a conventional midfield four.


Huddlestone remains a very useful midfielder. Not the most mobile, he's nevertheless excellent at spraying long diagonal passes towards the flanks, and Hull sometimes look short of ideas when he's pressed aggressively.


Hull boast two very good attacking full-backs. Right-sided Ahmed Elmohamady charges forward with power and also offers an aerial threat, while left-back Andy Robertson offers great crossing quality. 

Hull also have one of the Premier League's best dead ball specialists - Robert Snodgrass netted a crucial free-kick equaliser in stoppage time at Burnley last week, and his whipped, dipping left-footed shots are a real danger.


Hull started the season with very few players, and midfielder Jake Livermore has been forced to deputise at centre back. He's performed well so far, but Alexis will surely look to test his pace. 

Hull also began last weekend's 1-1 draw at Burnley with no fewer than five new signings on the bench. If they start on Saturday, Hull might lose some of the cohesion that has proved useful so far.


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