Championship Gameweek Five: Bristol City To Win High-Scoring Clash?5 min read
Bowen and Grosicki high up for Hull
Grant McCann has not changed too much at Hull in terms of the system; he still favours a 4-3-3 with star wide forwards Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki – who have remarkably stayed in Humberside this summer – either side of a main striker, in this case Gillingham recruit Tom Eaves.
McCann does not ask Bowen or Grosicki to track back; he always wants both high up the pitch.
In Tuesday night’s 1-0 home loss to Blackburn, we saw both the pluses and minuses of that approach.
On the plus side, it means both can bring quality in transition – Grosicki was a very valuable out-ball last time out and he hit the bar with one effort, then showed the composure to pull numerous balls back for on-running midfielders like Jackson Irvine.
Plus, Stephen Kingsley makes some excellent overlapping runs and sometimes, defenders are so wary of Grosicki’s technical threat that the left-back can get more space to drill crosses in as well.
Equally though, we saw in the second half when Blackburn took control that Hull’s midfield three of Irvine, Daniel Batty and Kevin Stewart began to get outnumbered; McCann, so keen to keep Bowen and Grosicki high up, did not make a system change that might have given Hull an opportunity to wrestle back some authority.
For that reason, we can expect Hull to be very effective for certain spells of their games this season, but perhaps not quite as adaptable as their forthcoming opponents.
Bristol City’s bright start
Bristol City have arguably not controlled their games for as long spells as Hull have so far this season, yet they have collected seven points – three more to date than their hosts – which might point to superior adaptability.
Of course, the Robins were second-best throughout their opening day 3-1 home loss to Leeds, where they lacked stability in midfield.
Since then though, Marlon Pack was sold to Cardiff as Adam Nagy and Han-Noah Massengo have signed from Bologna and Monaco respectively.
Nagy started well and kept play ticking over nicely in the 1-1 draw at Birmingham but was forced off at half-time in the 2-0 win over QPR the following Saturday.
In replacing the Hungarian, though, Massengo has looked equally impressive; the 18-year-old is positive, hungry and has very quick feet which allows him to get out of tight situations – he was a real stand-out in Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory at Derby.
Han-Noah Massengo, only 18, rightly the centre of attention, superb at Pride Park, chased every ball, neat touch, saluted by #BristolCity team-mates and by travelling fans loud and long. #BristolCity worthy 2-1 winners. Johnson outthought Cocu. Massengo outran/outworked #dcfc pic.twitter.com/XDNWv0nihs
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 20, 2019
City pressed very well in the first half in the East Midlands and that was a big part of how they got their goals through Andreas Weimann, often the one leading the charge and Josh Brownhill, a dynamic presence in midfield.
What will please Lee Johnson equally is the way his side defended that lead; bringing Taylor Moore back into the three-man defence to the right of Tomas Kalas and Nathan Baker proved a very good move – the young defender has clearly matured hugely following recent loan spells at Cheltenham and Southend.
Hull have shown in the first half of their games so far this season that they can cause teams problems, so we should back them to find the net here.
However, their tendency to play out from the back could be dangerous against a Bristol City side that, in the last two games, have created the bulk of their clear-cut chances through stealing the ball high up the pitch – we’re tipping an away win.
Tip: Bristol City to win and Both Teams To Score
Read Gabriel’s League One weekend preview.