And after an impressive August in which they’ve taken six points from a tough opening three games, there are plenty of reasons Mike Phelan’s men can continue to impress this month. Here’s why they won’t slump in September.
Their performances have been impressive
While they may have a shortage of superstars, Hull have worked superbly as a team unit so far this season, and there’s been far more to their game than just the ‘battling spirit’ which their success has largely been put down to.
Tactically astute, they beat champions Leicester at their own game on the opening weekend, counter-attacking the Foxes with intelligent play from the likes of Hernandez and Snodgrass in a 4-3-3 system which smartly reverted to 4-5-1 when defending.
Against Swansea, they produced a similarly effective, well-organised performance in defence and midfield, while showing varied strengths up front, with Sean Maloney’s goal coming from a perfectly-worked corner, and Abel Hernandez’s from a superbly slick passing move.
Even the defeat to Jose Mourinho’s impressive Manchester United saw the Tigers match their opponents, falling victim to a moment of magic at the very end of an extremely tight and hard-fought game. And they’re even better equipped for the coming games, because…
Late signings offer strength in depth
With 48 hours of the summer transfer window remaining, City fans had reason for concern, having not signed a single senior player. But four promising signings in the last throes of the transfer window have given the previously thin Tigers squad a boost.
A pair of signings from Phelan’s former employers Manchester United, Will Keane, and James Weir both impressed in the Red Devils’ illustrious youth setup, and the former looked well-equipped on his brief forays into the United first-team, and out on loan.
However, it’s England international Ryan Mason’s midfield class which makes him the most important acquisition on Humberside, while keeper David Marshall is a reliable pair of hands with bags of experience.
With the Tigers’ first aim to avoid the drop, the acquisition of four players with Premier League experience, ready to slot straight into the side, represents a smart transfer strategy from Phelan.
Add those talents to the ferocity of Ahmed Elmohamady, the creativity of Maloney and Robert Snodgrass, and the strength and finishing of Abel Hernandez, and you have the makings of an excellently balanced squad.
Winnable fixtures are coming up
First up for the Tigers is a trip to Burnley, and it’s fair to say this could be the most straightforward three points of the season for the visitors. Their opponents lost to Accrington Stanley before being thumped by Chelsea, and Hull have won at Turf Moor as recently at 2013.
Bottom club Stoke City are also up in September, and it’s an ideal time to play Mark Hughes’ underachievers before they get their act together.
Even the month’s ‘tougher’ opponents could well struggle against the Tigers. Liverpool are fine when they’re up against attacking sides like Manchester City and Arsenal, but were soundly beaten by Burnley last month, and Hull could well frustrate the Reds and hit them on the break at the KCOM Stadium.
As for Arsenal, their defence has hardly looked robust this season and the Tigers have beaten the Gunners in the Premier League before.
Hull City head to Burnley on Saturday, with Phelan’s charges looking good value for the victory at 23/10.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing