Newcastle 1 Huddersfield 0 – Premier League Match Report
Newcastle United were the deserved winners against their fellow Championship promotees Huddersfield Town, who won the reverse fixture by the same scoreline way back in August.
Newcastle have found stability in their recent form, and a dominant performance almost denied them the warranted victory. But a well worked and composed goal in the 80th minute meant that the Magpies eventually ended up with the three points – meaning that’s 13 points in the last ten games.Embed from Getty Images
The victory is a big step forward in Newcastle’s quest to avoid returning to the Championship. They now sit in 12th with 35 points and a decent goal difference of -9, which is actually the 9th best in the league.
On the other hand, this second subsequent defeat is a big blow for Town, and four games have passed since they last scored. Huddersfield have become all too familiar with drawing blanks this season (18 in total), and the current barren run will need to end pretty instantly if they want to stay up. A goal draught could spell disaster for a team just three points above the relegation zone.
You can’t really say Saturday’s match produced a valiant performance from the away side either, who didn’t register a shot on target. A 1-0 scoreline rather flattered the West Yorkshire outfit and, with an incredibly tough run incoming, fans have a right to be irritated and disappointed by this.
Jonjo Shelvey. An International Prospect.Embed from Getty Images
With the World Cup excitement starting to reverberate around the football world, this match provided a somewhat external talking point – a potential inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad. That inclusion comes in the form of Jonjo Shelvey.
Whenever I hear anyone talk about Shelvey, they are almost always full of praise for the midfielder, some even referring to him as the “bald Pirlo”. Whoever he may be compared to, he certainly pulled off another top performance on Saturday. With only six national caps under his belt, he doesn’t have the international experience England’s other midfielders have, but perhaps he just needs the chance to confront the big stage.
It’s true that the 26-year-old can lack a cool head at times, picking up two red cards this season, one being a stamp on Spurs’ Dele Alli on the first day of the season. It’s fair to say the pair aren’t exactly best pals, and it’s no given that they’ll get on when playing alongside each other. Early June will be the last chance for Southgate to give Shelvey a “test-run” for England, when the Lions take on Nigeria and Costa Rica in home friendlies.
The Final Hurdles
With seven Newcastle and seven Huddersfield matches remaining, we are fast approaching the tense final stage of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign. Newcastle are in touching distance of survival – Benitez’ stated that their aim is to get to the famous forty-point mark. Their final fixtures present some very winnable matches which could take them way past forty points.
The Terriers however will have their work cut out for them during the next month. The next two games against Brighton and Watford are absolutely crucial. Winning both these games will take an awful lot of pressure off going into the deadly final four fixtures that have been on the back of every Huddersfield fan’s mind for the best part of 2018. They won’t want to be reminded that these fixtures are Chelsea away, Everton home, Man City away and Arsenal home.
Still, they have done exceedingly well to even be above the relegation zone this far into the season, considering many peoples’ expectations at the start of their first Premier League campaign. Even if they were to go down, they have given it a very good shot – something the players and manager can be proud of.
Written by Harry Mahon.
Huddersfield Town correspondent and analysis writer for 90MAAT. Student at Loughborough University. A proud Spurs fan becoming too passionate about Huddersfield staying up. @mahon_harry