Well well, who saw that result coming for the first game of the new season? Hull City with only 13 fit senior players somehow managed to see off champions Leicester City.
Nerves were high in the Leicester camp before their first game in defence of the title and it clearly showed. Their new recruit Luis Hernández has yet to gel with the Leicester back line, which was all too clear after some defensive miscommunications on Saturday afternoon.
Hull City on the other hand did very well in dealing with the threat of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. The long ball over the top which was so instrumental last season was all but nullified by Hull’s deep defending. They managed to limit Vardy’s attempts to just 2 shots. Vardy is either still feeling some jitters from England’s euro meltdown or is not fully wound up yet as he missed two big chances on goal, one which saw him face a clear path on goal where he somehow managed to miss the ball.
The standout player of the game was of course Robert Snodgrass. His set pieces and shooting from range was a huge indicator that Leicester need to close down on (much more capable) sharpshooters in future.
Other than Snodgrass, Abel Hernández had a cracking game. He continuously pressed and sent the Leicester defence into disarray as they tried to track back with him chasing long balls.
That being said, the game was Leicester’s for the taking. They could not capitalise on the opportunities they were presented with and this may be a big factor this season: are they too big for their boots that the heart is gone or do they need the competitive match practice? only time will tell.
The above image shows the areas each team managed to shoot from. Hull’s shooting was mainly contained to outside the box and was distributed more widely across the pitch. Leicester were able to work the ball into the box and shoot from more favourable positions but were still unable to hit the back of the Hull net in open play. New boy Musa was far too generous on Saturday, opting to lay up Jamie Vardy instead of taking a crack on goal himself. This will surely be addressed before next game as it ended up costing Leicester an easy three points in gameweek one.
This image shows a player’s view on goal. The values show the areas of the goal which players targeted (when hitting the target). The goal on the left shows Hull’s shot placement. They mainly shot toward the right side of goal (an area which I plan on looking into – is it a keeper’s weak side, player footedness, or completely random?). Leicester placed most of their shots low and straight down the middle, with their remaining shots on goal being high in the middle and toward the top right corner.
Overall this was a huge let down for Leicester and a let off for Hull. Looking at the xGoal (expected goal) figures, Leicester should have come out on top. below is a minute by minute overview of the xGoal figures from the game.
This chart looks at each team’s xGoals over a 90 minute period. After the 21st minute, Leicester were always in front with most chances on goal and should have been the winners on the day, but as stated earlier, they may not be fully wound up as of yet.
All in all is wasn’t a great game to watch with both sides struggling to string anything fluid together. Expect Leicester to improve over the coming weeks and keep an eye on Hull, maybe we were all wrong to write them off just yet.
Below is the full infographic of the game. You’ll also see the most likely number of goals for each team to have scored and the result based on 1000 simulations of the game.
The simulations are based on the shots taken during the game and the likely outcome of them resulting in a goal. Expect a post on simulating match outcomes in the near future.