Huddersfield Town were the dark horses of the Championship last year. This season might prove to be the same. David Wagner’s side lack a lot of star quality, but make up for it with a tactically intelligent system that could unsettle even some of Europe’s top sides.
Manager: David Wagner (Jurgen Klopp v 2.0)
First Team: Lossl; Lowe, Schindler, Zanka, Malone; Hogg, Mooy; Palmer, Ince, van La Parra, Depoitre.
Huddersfield Town’s best asset is their manager, David Wagner. A student (and best friend) of Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Wagner has implemented his own form of “gegenpressing” and adapted it to a team that lacks obvious world class talent. And there’s the other benefit. Huddersfield don’t need world class talent (and the associated costs) as long as they have the players to buy in and implement Wagner’s system.
Well, nobody is going to brag about a lack of world class talent. And in a league where every team can now afford said talent, Huddersfield may find it difficult going in the Premier League, particularly if their system fails them. The fans might be disappointed too. Huddersfield haven’t signed any household names, but also don’t look like they’ll continue to have faith in the team that got them promoted in the first place.
Staying up. Nothing, and we mean nothing, should be a greater achievement than Huddersfield Town staying in the Premier League for another season. Yes, it will be difficult, but they have a manager who is tactically astute and a squad that has bought into his philosophy. All that remains to be seen is if they can match it with the best.
Consistency. Huddersfield Town will manage to stay up if they can play to a consistent level. Consider last season – they held Manchester City to a nil all draw in the fifth round of the FA Cup, before eventually being thrashed 5-1 in the return fixture. If they can make their home a fortress and grind out results like that (0-0, not 5-1 losses…), that might be enough to keep them in the Premier League.
Huddersfield Town are a bit of a mystery. Much like their aptly named “John Smith” stadium, nobody really knows who they are, or what they are capable of. Last season’s FA Cup match against Manchester City gave us a nice taster. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do with a season. Bank on them staying up – but only just.
To tide you over, let’s have a look back at the moment Huddersfield Town were promoted to the Premier League.
Want more for the upcoming season? Check out our preview of another newcomer, Brighton and Hove Albion.