I felt today's formation was as much about containing the wide men of their 3-5-2 and exploiting space around and behind the three at the back as it was about controlling the game in the centre, which we didn't do a great deal. It was clear that we were using width within our own half, and then getting balls into channels or trying to get 4 forward to overwhelm their three, and make runs between them.
I imagine it was a formation developed in order to manage their width at first, before seeing the opportunities with our pace and movement, as you've outlined above, to make strides through their midfield and defence.
It was interesting quite how static Hull's 3-5-2 was, seemed very flat with only ever one midfielder moving forward - either Quinn or Aluko - and not really having a holding midfielder you might expect.
When we attacked, and moved into a sort of lopsided 3-3-3-1, we exploited a lot of space between their defence and midfield. Especially utilising our speed and quick movement, the front four were often overrunning and running between their 3 before they knew what was happening. I can see Hull's 3-5-2, especially on a better day for them, working brilliantly against a standard 4-4-2 formation, neutralising them very effectively, but placing so many players in unorthodox positions clearly unsettled them from the off.
And the switch to essentially a 6-2-1-1 when they had the ball was actually quite inspired. I'm not sure Helan had his best game for us going forward, but Lee and him tracked fantastically, and the two central players then consistently forced Hull's play wide, into areas where we had further overloaded players. The number of balls we won in full back positions was astonishing.
I've heard consistent complaints, especially this season, that it's not clear under Jones what our 'strategy' for the game is, whether we're playing it wide and getting balls in, should be playing banks and trying to pass it through, working the channels, or hitting it to a target man for knock downs. What we saw today is what I think we've occasionally seen when we've been at our best, which is genuine thoughtfulness in tactics, and implemented by the team in an intelligent way, exploiting opponent's weaknesses and our strengths with unorthodox formations and quick movement to create openings.
Jones is by no means a tactical innovator ala Biesla, but I have felt for a long while that our fans desire to try and force our team into long-established tactical set ups and the reduction of tactics to "pace" or "desire" has been misguided, and it's been clear for a while that Jones is looking for something more fluid, especially going forward.