Hull City hosted Arsenal in a Premier League match today, just now. They weren’t expected to win, and they didn’t win, because they were and almost always are gravely overmatched. But that’s not why I’ve gathered you here.
We’re gathered because Hull City have organized in this losing effort in a 3-5-2 formation. The 3-5-2 sacrifices a defender for a midfielder with the conceit that doing so will clog the center of the pitch, and in doing so neutralize a talented midfield such as Arsenal’s.
It is on paper, I guess, a good plan, given that you have good, active players in the midfield who minimize the time their opponents get on the ball without feeling pressure, and a speedy, compact back three who work as a unit to minimize the gaps behind the defense. Hull however, are trash, in large part because Hull don’t have good or active players in the midfield, or a trustworthy trio of defenders on their roster. The result, then, is myriad, nigh-impossibly large holes in the midfield and defense that create channels on the field quite suitable to landing passenger planes and a whole lot of young men in black and orange shirts who appear to be waving them through. Instead of planes, however, are Arsenal players who spent the virtual entirety of the match running through these channels and receiving vertical passes that are more common in your local CYO league. Above is one of those runs and passes that led to Arsenal’s third goal, just before the end of the first half.
Arsenal won 3-1, and are now level on points with second-place Manchester City with a game in hand.