Could the absence of ‘Elmo’ damage Hull City’s promotion push?
THE latest thoughts of our sports blogger Myfanwy Garman looks at Hull City’s bid to reach the Premiership
Just over a week ago the chant “Elmo…Elmo” rang around the KC Stadium. Hull City fans welcomed
Ahmed Elmohamady when he arrived in the summer as one their own, and they will miss him now
that he has gone. The winger’s season-long loan was cut short last week after Sunderland, impressed
by his performances and short on attacking presence, recalled him to the Stadium of Light.
The departure of Elmohamady comes as a big blow because the player has been so influential in the
first half of Hull City’s 2012-13 campaign. His dynamic runs and blistering pace terrorised defences
of the opposition and, as a result, he was a constant threat down the right wing. Not only does the
winger have bags of skill to trick his way past opposition full-backs, but he is also a big threat in the
air. He wins numerous headers which helps link play from the defence to the attack.
Elmohamady’s main asset was his ability to cross the ball. And cross it well. It’s a technique that Hull
has lacked over the years but with Elmo down the right, the strikers had the service they needed to
score the goals. The Egypt international has assisted in six of Hull City’s goals this season, including
a superb cross in the Tigers recent game against Sheffield Wednesday and two assists in City’s 2-1
victory over Ipswich.
Without Elmohamady’s assists and goals, Hull City would be sitting in sixth position with 44 points,
rather than in third position with 50 points. This again shows how valuable Elmohamady was during
his brief loan-spell at the KC Stadium.
Elmohamady’s best performance came against Leeds United. The winger was inspired and put in a
Man of the Match performance. His goal and two assists in the 3-2 victory made sure Hull took all
three points from Elland Road.
Elmohamady was signed for Sunderland by Steve Bruce in 2010 and he arrived in England having
only played in the Egyptian Premier League for Ghazl El-Mahalla SC and ENPPI. At the time of his
arrival on Wearside, Elmohamady had only experienced football in England when on a trial with the
Black Cats, however he clearly had the credentials to become a Premier League player and, after
fighting off competition from West Brom and Club Brugge, Sunderland signed him up on a season-
In the summer transfer window of 2011, Sunderland decided to make Ahmed Elmohamady’s stay at
the club permanent. In 55 appearances for Sunderland, Elmohamady has scored just one goal but
that is probably because he has not had much of a chance under current boss Martin O’Neill.
The 25-year-old’s lack of game time and opportunities at the Stadium of Light led him to Hull City,
to once again join forces with Steve Bruce. The fact that Elmo has scored just as many goals, and
assisted in six times as many goals, at the KC Stadium, as he did at Sunderland, shows that Bruce is a
manager who can get the most out of him and his talent.
Elmohamady brought a certain fluency to Hull and made the football interesting and exciting. He’s
helped City to become title contenders rather than play-off hopefuls and he’s also injected a lot of
pace and width into the team, who, before his arrival, were happy to play the ‘long-ball game’.
Hopefully, depending on whether Sunderland find an attacking player before the January transfer
window closes, Elmohamady will return to Hull City by February. For now, Cameron Stewart is a
suitable, though not necessarily ideal, replacement for Ahmed Elmohamady. Stewart can play on
both wings but he does not possess the same skills and experience as Elmohamady. The inability to
replace Elmohamady with a natural winger, who is willing to attack and defend down the right flank,
could affect the shape and balance of the team and perhaps threaten their promotion chances.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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