More away day misery for Hull as Silva seeks home comfort in survival bid
Saturday's 3-1 reverse at Manchester City was an all-too-familiar defeat for Hull City on their travels.
After all the intensity and character shown in the back-to-back home wins over West Ham United and Middlesbrough, the Tigers were decidedly second best against City. Ahmed Elmohamady's own goal sent Pep Guardiola's men on their way before all doubt was removed from the result with second half strikes from Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph.
Hull City were soundly beaten, even if Andrea Ranocchia grabbed what was only their eighth away goal all season for a late consolation.
Another game down, another week outside of the bottom three. Not many Hull City fans will have travelled to the Etihad with expectations of an upset so Swansea's 1-0 loss at West Ham United was just as significant. That preserves a two-point advantage over the Welsh side with just six games left to play.
The Tigers also avoided any serious damage to their goal difference. Trailing 3-0 just after the hour mark, it threatened to get messy for Marco Silva's men but there was an air of respectability by the end. Such is the congestion, goal differences might well come into it if battling Swansea.
This was never a likely venue to stop the rot but it is now just one point from a possible 42 on the road for Hull. Thirteen defeats in 14 games is a sorry run, especially when set alongside what has been such a productive run at the KCOM Stadium.
Three home wins might yet be enough for survival but it is hard to see the Tigers escaping the drop without picking up at least one point from the remaining trips to Stoke, Southampton and Crystal Palace. This was also another poor defensive effort to irk Silva. City have now shipped 10 goals in their last three away games.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Silva picked the side most would have selected with a beefed up midfield in a 4-5-1 formation. Manchester City, though, just had too much creativity.
Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Eldin Jakupovic, 7 -- Tidy saves kept out David Silva, Leroy Sane and Yaya Toure, while he also prevented an own goal for Michael Dawson with sharp reactions. Little he could do about Manchester City's goals.
DF Ahmed Elmohamady, 5 -- An awkward own goal in the first half undid the solid start from his team. A touch unfortunate with it but could not make amends when up against the dangerous Sane on his flank.
DF Andrea Ranocchia, 6 -- Another goal for the towering Italian, firing low past Claudio Bravo for a late consolation. Beaten too easily by Raheem Sterling in the build up to the second goal but the best of Hull City's defenders.
DF Michael Dawson, 5 -- A first Premier League start since early February and the captain was betrayed by a lack of fitness. Produced his usual interceptions but uncomfortable against the pace of his opponents' attack.
DF Andy Robertson, 5 -- Given the thankless task of keeping Sterling under wraps and it proved beyond the Scot. All three Manchester City goals began from his flank in an afternoon he would not wish to relive.
MF Lazar Markovic, 4 -- The inconsistencies of the Serbian were back again. No sooner was he excellent against Middlesbrough, he was ineffective here. Never made any impact on the fixture that was made for his counterattacking.
MF Alfred N'Diaye, 5 -- Manchester City controlled the game through midfield and nothing he could do would alter that. Unable to stamp his physicality on things and too often the game passed him by. Booked for a cynical foul.
MF Sam Clucas, 5 -- The biggest bonus for him was emerging through the game without a booking that would have brought a two-game ban. Honest endeavour but minimal impact before being replaced on the hour.
MF Evandro, 4 -- A comeback from injury lasted less than an hour as he struggled to stretch Manchester City in between the lines. A hand in his team's best first half chance but could not capitalise inside the box.
MF Kamil Grosicki, 5 -- One burst of pace skinned Jesus Navas in the first half but that was a flash in the pan during an indifferent game. Never saw enough of the ball and left Robertson exposed too often.
FW Oumar Niasse, 6 -- Missed his team's best chance when failing to react quickly enough but his work-rate deserved commendation up front. Never stopped running in an attempt to press his hosts high up the pitch.
FW Abel Hernandez, 5 -- Silva went with Niasse up front and there was nothing off the bench to undermine that.
MF Markus Henriksen, 5 -- Given a fair crack of the whip in midfield but failed to alter the course of the game.
MF Shaun Maloney, N/R -- Only on a matter of minutes but set up Ranocchia's goal with intelligent play in the box.
Philip Buckingham is ESPN FC's Hull City blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @PJBuckingham.