Done By : Bhavdeep Singh
Newly promoted side Hull City faced off against reigning champions, Leicester City in the opening match of the 2016/17 season of the Premier League and while everyone was expecting the party to go on, the Tigers had other plans.
After a pretty underwhelming display up front, Leicester City became the first reigning champions to lose on the opening day of the Premier League in 27 years, which is not a record they wanted to break.
Match Report and Analysis
The match started off pretty quickly as Hull kicked off the ball, and lost possession almost immediately, Leicester seemed to have a confidence about them, but that has a reasonable explanation, they were confident in defence with Luis Hernandez having a few problems in defence when it came to communicating with the captain, but it led to nothing major, they also seemed good moving forward with Andy King replacing N’golo Kante who shall play against West Ham on Monday. The problem in the first half was an almost dead attack, while Ahmed Musa was very pacy and had that flair, it was simply not enough to give the champions a goal.
Jamie Vardy in particular missed a seemingly easy cross from Musa only for it to end in Mahrez’s feet but that had nothing to do with the score, a good chance that Leicester missed to take the lead. Vardy seemed to either be out of form or crushed under the pressure after not being able to perform very well overall, it did come to the surprise of many that he didn’t see as much of the ball and Claudio Ranieri was frustrated with the midfielders when he realised that himself.
Just when we thought that the half was done, Hull City got a corner, as a result, most players crowded the box, the cross came in and Wes Morgan let Davies slip by (this was the second time) but his header was saved by Schmeichel in spectacular fashion. What followed after that would probably go down in Hull history as a memorable moment, Schmeichel’s save went straight to Abel Hernandez, who rose with Diomande in a bicycle kick like fashion to score the opening goal, which went in the end to Diomande.
The second half saw a quick Leicester attack which immediately resulted in a penalty whether it was really a penalty is debatable, but it was given and it was scored by none other than Riyad Mahrez himself, it seemed like Leicester were back in the game. The game continued in a similar fashion, switching from an advantage to Leicester to a ping pong like game.
In one such ping pong like instance, the ball was handed to Kasper Schmeichel who decided to throw it all the way to Demarai Gray, who was pretty impressive himself, but the throw turned out to be slightly too strong and ended in the feet of the man who was marking him. It took no time for Hull to adopt an attacking formation, the ball came off a crowd deep in the box to Snodgrass who shot from just inside the box to score the winning goal for Hull City.
There were attempts on the champions’ part, but not enough to get to the Hull goal, Okazaki and Ulloa were brought on, but could not leave as much of an impact as they would’ve wanted.
And just like that, it was over, the reigning champions had lost to a newly promoted side in the first game of the Premier League (and that is precisely why this is the best league in the world).
Ranieri might need to go over things once more with his team. With an almost non existent attack, and a semi functional midfield, Ranieri’s curiosity as to what Leicester can do this season might not render a good result. It was a bad move by Schmeichel to throw the ball all the way out there, and that too so early on, but players have bad days, he must now be careful about his distribution in the season. Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray were quite impressive for the time that they were there and seem like good additions to the team, but Luis Hernandez seemed slightly confused and couldn’t connect well with other 3 defenders, he must work on building a partnership with the rest of the defence
Hull City came out as winners, which was a surprise to many, with just 12 available senoir players, they did not have much of a choice, but they made the best out of it, and learned from the experience of the seniors (like Davies) to go out and win the game. Hull looked to be on the defensive side of things for most of the game and the midfield spiked up once or twice, if they can be slightly more consistent about it, they just might stay in the Premier League and things might get easier for them in the first 7 weeks of difficult home fixtures.
Images : The Guardian, BBC Sport