Saturday, May 26, 2018

Huddersfield have defied the odds to stay up

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 10 May 2018

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Watching Huddersfield play last season in the Championship, I thought they were a really good team with a very astute boss in David Wagner. However, one concern I had for the Terriers was that they might not score enough goals to stay in the Premier League.

It was a common concern and it could have been a major problem for Town. Somehow, though, the Terriers have survived the drop after the Yorkshire outfit recorded a 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Wednesday night. It was a fantastic achievement, especially after pulling off a goalless draw at Manchester City at the weekend.

It seems that Town like to defy the odds. I certainly would not have backed them to pick up anything from trips to the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge.

David Wagner deserves big credit

The Huddersfield boss has to be commended for the job he has done in Yorkshire. Not only has the German helped the club into the top-flight, he has kept them there with the smallest budget in the Premier League.

The highly-rated boss did not have a giant transfer pot in the summer. That hindered his efforts in signing a decent striker. The club brought in Laurent Depoitre and Steve Mounie in the summer for a combined fee of around £20million, reportedly anyway.

Neither has been spectacular successes. However, between them, the pair has scored enough goals to keep their team in the top-flight, despite seemingly being on a Premier League job share up front for the Terriers.

It has not just been in recruitment that Wagner has been a success. His tactical acumen has seen Town record a win over Manchester United, plus those valuable draws in the last week.

A team can get lucky and get a draw against a top side. However, to do it twice in less than seven days shows that the manager has his tactics spot on. Wagner set his team up well and temporarily abandoned his preferred style of passing football for a more workmanlike approach, which worked wonders.

Need to consolidate in the summer

Huddersfield now needs to consolidate in the summer. The Yorkshire club needs to bring a better quality of player this summer, as no doubt, they do need to score more goals, as only Swansea has scored fewer goals than Town’s tally of 28.

It seems unlike that the club are going to change their approach to spending this summer, though. They are not going to spend beyond their means, but if they can once again be shrewd in the transfer market, then they can no doubt improve next season.

One thing the Terriers can do in the summer is secure Wagner’s future. The German has done wonders with very little. He has produced a competitive team on a small budget, which will not have gone unnoticed elsewhere. There will be many clubs all over Europe looking at Wagner and his achievements.

If the Terriers are to keep their highly-rated boss, maybe the clubs hierarchy could give him better resources to work with. After all, Town will be receiving television revenue enough to bring a decent standard of player in the summer. He cannot keep pulling rabbits out of a hat.

Difficult to establish themselves in the top-flight

Huddersfield finishes their Premier League campaign with a home game against Arsenal on Sunday, a game in which the Terriers are odds of 15/4 to win.

As soon as that game finishes the club need to start planning for next season. I am sure the celebrations will be kept to a minimum, as everything at the club will be hoping that the Terriers can avoid the dreaded second season syndrome.

It will be very difficult for Huddersfield to establish themselves in the English top-flight without proper investment in their squad. However, as long as David Wagner is in charge the team will always at least be competitive.

Can Huddersfield establish themselves as a Premier League club in the long run?

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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