Since the 2012/13 season, Hull City have successfully bounced from the Championship to the Premier League, and right back down to the Championship a season later. This cycle continues for this upcoming season, as the Tigers are back in the Championship yet again after spending a year back up in the Premier League. And while the season ultimately ended in relegation, their season started off with a bang, upsetting last year’s League winners Leicester City 2-1.
Out of the three relegated teams -Sunderland and Middlesbrough- Hull played the best last season, finishing with a record of 9 wins, 7 draws, and 22 losses. Again, out of the relegated teams, the Tigers had the best attack, netting 37 goals, 8 more than Sunderland and 10 more than Boro. Hull’s two glaring weaknesses last season was their inability to win away from home, as well as having a hard time keeping the ball out of their own net. Having secured just 6 points away from the KCOM Stadium, Hull’s only victory away from home was the second game of the season; a 2-0 win over Swansea City. They then secured a point on visits to Burnley, Manchester United, and Southampton. The Tigers defense was almost historically bad, as they let in 80 Premier League goals last season; that’s only nine goals off of Derby County’s record set during the 2007/8 season.
That being said, there is talent on this Hull team, if they can keep it. Left-back Andrew Robertson has been linked with a move to Liverpool, and the Reds are keen to bring in his teammate Harry Maguire. Andrea Rannochia has said his goodbyes to the club, but the Tigers are trying to bring in the Italian on a permanent deal, with Inter saying that they’d accept an offer anywhere between £8.4m and £10.1m (Gazzetta dello Sport). Moses Odubajo, Abel Hernandez, Sam Clucas, Kamil Grosicki, and Ryan Mason are others that can be a real asset for this club moving forward in their fight back in the Premier League.
Their Premier League record wasn’t pretty, but Hull's record the last time they were amongst the Championship was something to smile about. With a record of 24 wins, 11 draws, and 11 losses, the Tigers finished in fourth on the table and won promotion with a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
Leeds faired well against Hull City during the 15/16 Championship season, earning a 2-1 win at Elland Road and a 2-2 draw in the Tigers backyard. Can next season’s Leeds play competitive games with the Tigers? Absolutely. Can they get the W? (Oh no, here we go again) Every fan would say yes, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Last years’ teams figured out Leeds when it mattered most (please stop, we know) and if our philosophy is still “Kick the ball forward to Woody there and he can do it all, our New Zealand Superman”, teams won't have to change up the blueprint. We need more consistent (we get it, please just st-) attacking wingers who aren’t afraid to run and take on defenders and be a scoring threat themselves. If we can get that, we can do our part to make Hull’s goals allowed tally look a lot like it was last year.