Once again the poetry was successful as we scraped home by a single goal against Burnley on Wednesday evening. We started the game reasonably well and were just about good value for the single goal half-time lead. But Burnley came back strongly in the second half, and but for some woeful finishing, plus some fine goalkeeping from Randolph, they could well have got a (deserved?) point from the game. I’m not quite sure what happened in the second half, but we sat back rather than going for a second goal which would have made the game more comfortable. A 2-0 lead and we would have been in a strong position. Although one pundit on TV recently said that a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead to have. Poppycock. It is far better to be leading by two goals rather than one. A 1-0 lead, or being one goal ahead is far more dangerous in my eyes.
Who were our best performers on the night? Always subjective, but for me Randolph, Reid, Obiang and Carroll stood out. I’d like to think we would be beating teams like Burnley with greater ease, but with our current relatively poor form, and lack of confidence, I guess we should just be satisfied with three points and move on to the next game. Two seasons ago when we last played Burnley at home we won the game 1-0 with a Mark Noble penalty. This time he failed to score from the spot, but the rebound fell kindly and he had an easy task to slot the ball home.
So that is now one game down of the four easier (on paper) fixtures to take us to the end of 2016, that everyone has been going on about, and we now have a four point cushion ahead of the relegation places. Just a few days ago we were in the bottom three. The visit of Hull gives us the opportunity to stretch the cushion further.
Hull began the season with two victories, against champions Leicester, and Swansea, meaning they were joint top with six points after just two games. However, in the subsequent 14 games they have won only once (v Southampton), and drawn three times, v Burnley, West Brom, and Palace. Their 12 points leaves them in the relegation zone, and they have the worst goal difference in the whole of the Premier League by a long way (-21). They have scored 14 goals and conceded 35. This is mainly as a result of some heavy defeats, 3-0 to both Sunderland and Tottenham (on Wednesday), 4-1 to Arsenal, 5-1 to Liverpool, and 6-1 at Bournemouth being the biggest.
We are even stronger favourites to win the game than we were against Burnley, but that was a struggle. How will we fare this time? It’s hard to know, but perhaps our first win in a few games will give us the confidence to progress, and possibly play with a bit less fear than seemed to be the case in midweek, especially in the second half, when we began to get a bit jittery. I’m confident that we can continue to push on now, and despite our less than convincing win on Wednesday, the optimist in me predicts a 3-1 victory.
What are the chances?