Hull City-Chelsea: Postponement a Blessing in Disguise

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJanuary 11, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  The ball loops over goalkeeper Boaz Myhill of Hull City from a shot by Didier Drogba as Salomon Kalou of Chelsea (L) and Andy Dawson of Hull City look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on August 15, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

When the severe winter weather hit the Premier League fixture list this weekend, there were only two games to survive with seven others postponed.

The games to survive were Arsenal versus Everton and Manchester United versus Birmingham City. Neither helped the title contenders' hopes as they both drew under difficult conditions.

For Hull City versus Chelsea, on paper it looked like the ideal time for the Tigers to take on the Blues. Ancelotti's Chelsea aristocrates were depleted due to five players playing in the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) including Didier Drogba and Michael Essien.

The loss of such important players for the Premier League leader meant that they would have had to bring in players that were lower down the Chelsea pecking order. Admittedly, they would all probably get in the Hull City starting lineup. But when you are starting half a team of second-string players and a striker in Nicholas Anelka who has been injured for some time, it would on paper be the ideal time to take on the leaders.

So when the game was called off there was a giant groan from the Tiger Nation. There was no shortage of vitriol for the local police force that declared the area around the KC Stadium unsafe for fans.

However, it is now becoming clear that it may have been a slice of good fortune for the beleaguered Tigers. With the bad weather has come indoor training for everyone in English football, and the Tigers have sustained a few niggling injures to key players.

Defensive stalwarts Kamil Zayette and club captain Anthony Gardner both picked up knocks whilst doing indoor training in the lead up to the tie. Tigers' boss Phil Brown said, "We had three training sessions indoors, and we picked up one or two little niggles as a result."

"One of those was to Kamil and it would have been a risk to play him. The other was to Anthony, so the game being off may have been a blessing in disguise."

If Gardner can shake off his worrying injury, it would be his longest string of games for the Tigers since signing for the East Yorkshire club in 2008, and his longest since the 2004-05 season with Tottenham Hotspur.