Influential Huddlestone sent off as Hull surrender 4-0 defeat at Everton
Yet another fruitless away day for Hull City has steepened the gradient of the challenge facing Marco Silva's men once more as they battle to stay in the Premier League. A 4-0 loss flattered Everton after two goals from Romelu Lukaku inside stoppage time, while the Tigers also had justifiable complaints when seeing Tom Huddlestone sent off when trailing 1-0 with 17 minutes left to play. Ultimately, though, City's failure to bring a single save from Everton keeper Joel Robles told its own familiar story for a side that has gone almost seven months without finding three points on their travels.
For 70 minutes or so, Hull City were firmly in a fixture away to one of the Premier League's in-form sides. Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin's early opener split the teams and spells of the second half were giving Silva plenty of encouragement from the sidelines. Then came Huddlestone's red card and losing their midfield linchpin ensured City surrendered all hope with 17 minutes to play. The Tigers have been here before, such as the plucky losses at Chelsea and Arsenal, but the pressure is back on for the upcoming home games against West Ham and Middlesbrough after the international break.
Seeing Huddlestone sent off had its clear consequences as Everton galloped clear inside the final stages, but it is the potential to lose the in-form midfielder for three of the remaining nine games. Silva suggested he would review the footage before deciding on an appeal, clearly fearful of losing Huddlestone for the games against West Ham, Middlesbrough and Manchester City. The Tigers' away record also remains a nagging cause for concern. Since drawing 1-1 at Burnley in September, just one point has been found from a possible 36. City have also failed to score in 10 of those 12 away games.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Silva surprised plenty of fans when opting for a three-man defence, and other than conceding early on, it offered promising signs. Improvements also came after the interval until things went awry late in the game.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Eldin Jakupovic, 5 -- Powerless to stop the late rush of Everton goals as his stretched defence opened up. One good save had earlier prevented Lukaku but there was one dropped cross fortunate to avoid punishment.
DF Omar Elabdellaoui, 5 -- City's switch to a wing-back formation brought deployment on the right side and a bright performance brought a couple of promising runs and crosses. Then he let himself down with an awful pass for Everton's fourth.
DF Andrea Ranocchia, 6 -- The Italian adapted well to a beefed-up defensive line, helping to curb Lukaku's influence until the closing stages. As tidy a performance you can hope for when conceding four goals.
DF Harry Maguire, 7 -- A couple of excellent challenges in the second half stopped Ross Barkley in his tracks and ensured he emerged with as much credit as any of his teammates, even allowing for a few stray passes.
DF Curtis Davies, 6 -- A first Premier League start in two months did not last the distance when replaced for a more attacking approach late on but limited Everton on a competent comeback. City are stronger with him fit.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 -- Had some City fans celebrating when firing into the side netting in the second half, as close as his side came all day. Beaten in behind for Everton's first and third goals when unable to track runners.
MF Tom Huddlestone, 6 -- One of the most influential players in the second half when enjoying time on the ball but his game was cut short by a straight red card. A harsh call for what was essentially a mistimed tackle.
MF Alfred N'Diaye, 4 -- The bright start to his City career is fast becoming a fading memory after the third consecutive poor display in midfield. Too much of proceedings passed him by, while also giving up possession too often.
MF Sam Clucas, 6 -- A busy presence in the middle of the park and his industry brought his team's best chance when harrying Ashley Williams. If only Clucas could have taken the chance, instead of chipping over the bar.
MF Lazar Markovic, 5 -- Not Given the freedom to play at the top of the midfield and roam where he pleased, but other than a lively start that stretched Everton, his telling contributions were few and far between.
FW Abel Hernandez, 5 -- Another flat performance when asked to lead City's attack alone, comfortably contained by Everton's physical defenders. This summed up his desperate need for support from others.
MF Kamil Grosicki, 5 -- A casualty of Silva's tactical changes but unable to make his head coach regret the decision.
FW Adama Diomande, NR -- The game was long gone by the time he was introduced up front.
MF Ahmed Elmohamady, NR -- All too little, too late for the Egyptian.
Philip Buckingham is ESPN FC's Hull City blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @PJBuckingham.