Hull City vs. Newcastle United: 6 Things We Learned
A brace from Moussa Sissoko, plus goals from Loic Remy and Vurnon Anita, handed the Magpies a comfortable win and closed the gap on Manchester United above them.
The victory, however, was overshadowed by an ugly touchline clash between Toon boss Alan Pardew and Tigers midfielder David Meyler.
The pair collided as the ball went out for a throw-in before Pardew was sent to the stands after clearly headbutting the City man.
Here we take a look at six things that were learned from this weekend’s match on Humberside.
Alan Pardew Should Have Known Better
Unfortunately for Newcastle United, it is the actions of their manager, Alan Pardew, that will make the headlines as opposed to their hugely impressive display at Hull City.
The Toon boss deservedly watched the remainder of the game from the stands after headbutting midfielder David Meyler with a little under 20 minutes left.
Their coming together in the Magpies’ technical area could result in a lengthy touchline ban for the 52-year-old, who later apologised via BBC Sport.
But any retrospective action from the FA won’t paper over what was a senseless act by Pardew that will leave his reputation tarnished for a long time to come.
Hull City Are Not out of the Woods Yet
Aside from a spell in the first half that saw Hull City threaten to get back in to Saturday’s clash with Newcastle United, the Tigers were largely outclassed at the KC Stadium.
And that will worry manager Steve Bruce, whose side still have much work to do if they’re to steer completely clear of the drop zone with plenty of games to spare.
The cushion between Hull in 11th and Sunderland in 18th is a healthy-looking six points, but that gap could be cut between now and their next Premier League game in a fortnight.
Newcastle's Midfield Dominance Was Rewarded
Key to Newcastle United’s dominance on Saturday was their performance in midfield, where they outshone their hosts time and again.
In Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita, the Magpies had the perfect base from which to build, using the pair’s tenacity and steel to grab an early foothold in the game.
Beyond them, the vision and accuracy of Moussa Sissoko, coupled with an all-action shift from the tireless Yoan Gouffran, put Hull City in all sorts of trouble.
Sissoko was rightly rewarded with a brace, while Anita certainly earned his injury-time goal. But this was a team effort from the Toon and one that further eased the hurt following Yohan Cabaye’s January exit.
Hull Had Their Chances to Make a Game of It
The final score might suggest a largely one-sided affair, but for a spell in the opening 45 minutes, Hull City spurned a number of chances to take control of the tie.
Moussa Sissoko’s opener for Newcastle United followed a glorious chance for the home side, who would have taken the lead through Alex Bruce were it not for Tim Krul’s double save.
Ahmed Elmohamady also passed up a good opportunity when unmarked at the far post, while Nikica Jelavic missed the target from close range before hitting the crossbar from a direct free-kick.
In the end, the result was a fair one, but it could have been an entirely different game had the Tigers taken their early chances.
Tim Krul and Maynor Figueroa Might Want to Avoid the Highlights
There seemed very little danger when Hull City midfielder Tom Huddlestone lifted a free-kick into the visitors’ penalty area just seconds after the restart.
But for reasons best know to himself, Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul made a late beeline for the ball, only to run into a crowd of players and allow Curtis Davies to head into the unguarded net.
The Dutchman, however, was not alone in fluffing his lines, and Tigers defender Maynor Figueroa will want to avoid highlights of the fixture after gifting the Magpies their second goal.
The 30-year-old Honduran left goalkeeper Allan McGregor with a mountain to climb as his 42nd-minute back pass fell short, allowing Loic Remy to race clear and score.
The Magpies Have Manchester United in Their Sights
Before last weekend’s home clash with Aston Villa, Newcastle United were on a worrying run that saw them win just one game in nine and go without a goal in four fixtures.
Back-to-back victories over Villa and Hull City, however, have lifted the mood on Tyneside and cut the gap to Manchester United in seventh place to just two points.
Depending on the outcome of this season’s FA Cup and this weekend’s Capital One Cup final, there may be as many as two extra places in next term’s Europa League up for grabs.
And while there’s still a chance, the Magpies will use that as motivation over the final 10 games of their campaign.