It only feels like yesterday that the top leagues of European Soccer were playing their final games of the regular season. Fans were praying for a miracle so their favorite teams can stay up, while others were already rejoicing at the season ending. The English Premier League starts in eleven days, and we have twenty teams vying for that final day celebration so they can lift the trophy, and immortalize themselves in history. Along with the seventeen teams that stayed up from the 2016-17 season, we have some newcomers in Brighton, Newcastle United and Huddersfield. Over the next twelve days, we will preview every Premier League team this season. Yesterday, we started with one of the most famous European clubs to ever grace a soccer field. Today, we look at one of our newcomers looking to make a mark in Huddersfield Town.
The first few months of the Championship campaign could not have gone much better for the team from West Yorkshire County. They suffered three losses, the worst of which came from a 5-0 thrashing at Fulham, but they also had a flurry of impressive results at the start of the season. One could say that Huddersfield were the finishers of the Championship, not because they finished every chance they got, but they were somehow able to get points out of games through 85+ minute goals, and a string results in the playoffs. After finishing fifth at the end of the regular season, the team went through the Championship playoffs, beating Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw before doing the exact same thing to Reading. This marked the first time in over forty years that Huddersfield Town was in the top division of English soccer, and the first time they have done so with a manager that is not from the British Isles.
Huddersfield and David Wagner have been rather busy thus far in the transfer window, with six players coming in from all over Europe. Matias Jorgensen, the Danish international, has come across from FC Copenhagen in a bid to set up their central defense, while also bringing in Scott Malone from Fulham. Malone, a left back, should fit in well with Wagner’s play, while giving attacking support when needed. Probably the biggest ‘transfer’ this season is the permanent move of Aaron Mooy from Manchester City. Mooy, the Australian international, was a revelation for Huddersfield, being named as part of the PFA Team of the Year. Mooy will be joined by Tom Ince from Derby County, and Daniel Williams from Reading, as a potential joint threat in the guts of the field for Huddersfield. Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre have come in as strikers, and both have experience in top flight football from Montpellier and FC Porto.
Allow me to run you through their first month: Crystal Palace (away), Newcastle United (Home), Southampton (Home). You would think that they could rack up a win and a draw in those first three games, with their loss probably coming against the Saints in a close match. However, in the next month, they will be forced to play West Ham (Away), Leicester City (Home), Burnley (Away) and Tottenham (Home). That’s a little more daunting, especially when you have Manchester United and Liverpool in two of the next three games after Tottenham. The draw doesn’t get much better towards the back-end of the season either, with what some would call a horror run to finish off. Their last four games consist of Chelsea (Away), Everton (Home), Manchester City (Away) and Arsenal (Home). Huddersfield fans better hope they have a great run from December to April, because one doesn’t see the Terriers managing to get too many points out of those last four games.
You never want to see a team who has just come up, go right back down (unless that team is the Queens Park Rangers). Huddersfield has some really elite signings coming into this season, and they will hopefully manage to keep themselves away from the bottom of the ladder for the time being. The Terriers could very well raise a few eyebrows and cause a few upsets against the bigger teams, but they would need to do a lot of this at home. One of two things will probably happen: Huddersfield may have some amazing results and finish around the top half of the field, or they simply fight for relegation. My money is on the latter, but expect them to be around for a sequel season.
Predicted finish: 16th
Top Scorer: Laurent Depoitre
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EDIT 1:40pm – Thanks to Kevin Mallinson from the Huddersfield Town fan group that the manager is actually David Wagner. Also a thank you to James Burrows for pointing out that Malone came from Fulham and not Reading.