By Matt Farr
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Hull’s penalty shootout victory over Newcastle in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.
Snodgrass is key to survival bid
Hull have largely struggled to get to grips with life back in the Premier League, but they have been thankful for the performances of Scotland international Robert Snodgrass. The 29-year-old midfielder had scored five goals from 13 games in all competitions prior to the fixture, and Hull had to rely on him once more to bring them back into the tie. Snodgrass cancelled out Mo Diame’s opener after less than a minute; and could have won the game for the home side late into extra-time. His constant hunger to attack, coupled with his desire and work-ethic, makes him a priceless asset to Mike Phelan’s side. Hull simply cannot afford to lose him before the end of the season.
Hull need a little more good fortune
Newcastle dominated possession. Newcastle had the most chances. Hull played the entire half-hour of extra-time with 10-men, because of Dieumerci Mbokani’s late dismissal. Yet it was Hull that won the game. Eldin Jakupovic, meanwhile, saved two of Newcastle’s three penalties – with Dwight Gayle clearing the cross bar with the other. You can call that a spout of good fortune, or you could call it good goalkeeping from Jakupovic. Either way, Newcastle will be kicking themselves for not wrapping up that game sooner. Hull will be thrilled. With a tough battle ahead of them to beat the drop back down to the Championship, Mike Phelan and Hull will be hoping for much more good fortune like this between now and when the curtain comes down on proceedings at the end of the campaign.
Major fight on hands
The home side were really disappointing in the first-half. They failed to register a single shot on target until midway through the second-half, and spent much of the first period on the defensive as Newcastle poured men forward. Much of the away side’s chances were restricted to long-range, but this is not the first time that Hull have been subject to an attacking bombardment. Phelan’s men now have six more games to contend with in December, including relegation clashes with West Ham, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough. They are only in the relegation zone on goal difference – having shipped 12 more goals than 17th-placed Crystal Palace – but a win in their next game could see them jump as high as 13th (depending on other results of course). Phelan has such a small squad to contend with, and while a cup semi-final place will fill them with confidence, they all have a lot of work to do to keep themselves fighting in the top-flight.
In other Hull news, here’s how the players fared against Newcastle.