Hull City’s Europa League exit blessing in disguise
Hull City (odds-on at 1/8 to stay up) were one of the most active Premier League clubs this summer, bringing in no less than 11 new players with the intention to bolster their squad to prepare for the Europa League.
However, they have now exited that competition in the qualifying play-offs, but it may be a blessing in disguise as they can concentrate all their effort domestically.
The Tigers have made a promising start to the season so far in the league, with a win a draw from their first three games (ninth place), with Nikica Jelavic getting on the score sheet. They then have favourable upcoming fixtures at home to West Ham United (11/10 to win), followed by trips to Newcastle United and West Brom.
While Hull’s controversial owner Assem Allam may step down, according to reports, the Egyptian heavily backed the Humberside outfit with transfers, breaking the club record three times with Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore and Abel Hernandez.
One of those new recruits, Snodgrass, however, suffered a devastating injury on his debut in the 1-0 opening day away win to QPR, when he dislocated his kneecap. The Scotland international, signed from Norwich City for a reported £6m, could now be out for the season.
“The diagnosis has been that this season is gone,” the 27-year-old said. “If I play any part, it will be a bonus.”
“Football injuries happen to everybody. It’s part and parcel of the game but the timing of it is quite sickening. I’ve got to get my head around it.”
But Hull fans needn’t worry too much, as exciting attackers Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa have both been brought in on loan, from Southampton and Newcastle respectively. On top of that, another winger, Tom Ince, has joined the Tigers’ ranks on a free transfer. This trio can certainly bring pace and flair to the side.
If those acquisitions weren’t enough for Steve Bruce, he has brought in former Spurs skipper Michael Dawson and promising young duo Harry Maguire and Andrew Robertson to bolster up his defence.
Besides Livermore, who was on loan at the KC Stadium last term, another central midfielder Mohamed Diame was snapped up from West Ham. Uruguay international striker Hernandez, meanwhile, has come in, after the Tigers missed out on Blackburn Rovers’ star finisher Jordan Rhodes.
Bruce now has pretty much every area well-stocked and ready for the season, and lost no key players.
An FA Cup final repeat (66/1 to win) may be difficult to achieve again this term, but they are well-equipped to improve on their 16th place Premier League finish last campaign. Hull are priced at 11/4 to end the season in the top ten.