Saturday, September 22, 2018

Huddersfield have a fighting chance of staying up

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Nov 2017

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Huddersfield Town won to the Premier League last season via the play-offs. The Terriers campaign ended badly after a good season, which meant that David Wagner’s side earned promotion the hard way.

Under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp’s best mate, Town played a high-pressing game that proved very effective in the Championship. Wagner likes to play attacking, possession-based football.

However, Town showed another side to their game in the narrow 2-1 home defeat by league leaders Manchester City on Sunday evening.

They were Terriers by name and terriers by nature, as they stubbornly defended their goal, only to be beaten by a fortune Raheem Sterling goal in the last 15 minutes.

A team with great team spirit

Not many teams have hammered Huddersfield in the Premier League this season. Wagner’s team have proven that they are well capable of holding their own in the English top-flight.

Due to the Terriers winning promotion via the play-offs, some questions marks remained about Huddersfield’s true quality.

In other games, they have certainly produced better attacking performances, as Town had one shot on target during the City game. However, Wagner’s side showed a spirit that would probably have been enough to pick up a positive result against most sides in the top-flight.

Manchester City are not most sides, though. Pep Guardiola’s side are the most in-form team in European football at present. The fact that Huddersfield held the Citizens off for so long says a lot about the team’s character.

Need to pose more of an attacking threat

Huddersfield’s main problem last season was scoring goals. Wagner likes to play attacking football. Unfortunately, he did not have a prolific striker last season, nor does he have one this season.

A game like Sunday’s was always likely to be a back against the walls job. For most teams that play Guardiola’s side, it is a backs against the wall job. They are just that good at keeping possession and doing damage with said possession.

However, against other teams, Town will pose more of an attacking threat. They are never likely to score bucket loads of goals, but they are solid enough in defence to be able to score enough goals to stay in the top-flight.

The key to Town staying up is the likes of winger Tom Ince and midfielder Aaron Mooy weighing in with goals. The strikers Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre do not look like strikers that will score bags full of goals.

That puts more emphasis on the players behind them to come from deep and contribute goals and assists. If they can do that, they have a great chance of staying up this season.

Still one of the favourites for relegation

Despite a largely solid Premier League campaign so far, Huddersfield are still one of the three favourites to suffer relegation at odds of 7/4.

At the start of the campaign, I thought Huddersfield had a fighting chance of beating the drop this season. Nothing I have seen so far this season has convinced me otherwise.

In fact, for me, Huddersfield are not currently one of the three worse teams in the Premier League. The likes of Swansea, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Everton are in far worse shape than the Terriers.

Most of those aforementioned teams have shown very little fight or quality this season so far. Palace are on the up, but the others are struggling for points.

If Wagner’s team can pick up points from games against their relegation rivals, there is no reason why Town will not be playing in the top-flight next season.

Does Huddersfield have the quality to avoid relegation this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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