I came home from coaching my U10s just in time to watch the second half of a game in which I had every hope of another three points. It wasn’t to be, alas (don’t tell me Gabby isn’t still replaying that miss in the 53rd minute, after Bacuna made an amazing run down along the touchline and passed to Weimann, who played a surprising but intelligent ball back to him), but it’s hard to feel too down about it. Yes, we should be able to beat Hull, but a point away is a point away, and two consecutive away clean sheets shows some improvement in defense, even when the other team’s offense is as tentative as Hull’s. We needed more invention in front of Hull’s goal, but there are still plenty of bright spots.
Reasons for Optimism
Defense. A clean sheet, decent blocks by Bacuna and Vlaar, and I thought Clark looked pretty strong. Good to see Westwood again, although I thought he was just OK. He’ll be better.
Midfield. A stronger game than usual from Karim El Ahmadi, and Delph’s continued maturity is encouraging.
Reasons for Pessimism
Offense. Granted, few players are as imposing as Benteke, but Kozak, despite his height, just looks like a flyweight. Weimann had a rare bad outing, but he definitely deserves forgiveness for that. And Gabby did a lot of good work but, as ever, isn’t quite clinical in front of the goal.