New Boys: Huddersfield

A Brief History

Huddersfield are the polar opposites of Newcastle and Brighton. In 2003-04 they spent a year in Division 3. An eight-season-stay in Division 1 was ended by the prolific Jordan Rhodes, who top scored for his club three seasons running. The club favourite left for pastures new and the Terriers struggled on without him in the Championship.

What Huddersfield have lacked since then is a striker capable of 20 goals per season. A much improved defence this season was key to lowering their goal difference and making the play-offs. Even then it was nail-biting stuff with both games going to penalties.

Their last top flight season was 1971-72 and lot has changed since then.

Numbers

Huddersfield lost the most games, scored the least goals, concede the most and had the worst goal difference of the top six Championship sides but somehow they made it.

Their five seasons in that league have yielded similar attacking numbers, having scored 53, 58, 58, 59, 56. Their defensive stats are what made the difference last year: 73, 65, 75, 70, 58. They are however, the only team to ever be promoted to the Premier League with a negative goal difference (-2).

Transfers

This is another area where Huddersfield differ to the other teams that were promoted. Last summer Hefele, Lowe and Schindler were brought and started along with loanees Kachunga, La Parra and Mooy. These have now been made permanent. In addition they’ve also bought Depoitre from Porto, Tom Ince and Steve Mounie. New signings are likely to walk into the team.

Their choice of forwards is a big risk. Depoitre scored 3 goals in the last 2 seasons, starting a total of 17 games, while Mounie had his breakout year in a Montpellier side that finished 15th. Tom Ince however is a welcomed addition, a tricky wide player with an eye for goal. Having scored double figure goals for the past three seasons Terriers’ fans will be excited to see him at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Lineup

Unless they can get Ward from Liverpool it looks like a new goalkeeper with the old defence and covering midfielders. An attacking quartet is where things are likely to change. Ince, Kachunga and La Parra will fight for two spots wide, while Wells, Mounie and Depoitre do the same centrally. I fancy La Parra to be the man to sit on the bench more often than not.

lineup(2).png

Prediction

They have real potential going forwards and could well replicate Bournemouth’s Premier League style. If new signings don’t click however they could be in trouble fast. The same applies if Wagner doesn’t organise his defence. There will be some magical moments against this year for Terriers’ fans but they’ll also take some absolute spankings by the likes of Spurs and City. Come May they’ll likely already be relegated along with Brighton.

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