In a weekend of incredibly important results for the teams fighting at the bottom of the table, Huddersfield Town refused to be left out of the party.
The Terriers have made a massive step towards ensuring survival in the Premier League with a hard-fought victory, while Watford extend their dismal run of form to four defeats in five games.
Make no mistake, with some extremely tough fixtures coming up in the next few weeks, this was a match that Huddersfield probably needed to win, and they certainly needed it more than Watford. But it was looking bleak right up until the 91st minute when Tom Ince, not a player known for hitting the net, popped up with the winning goal.
In all honesty, there was not a lot for the Town fans to scream and shout about until the goal came. The game was nerve-wracking as the Kirklees faithful knew that a draw may not be enough. However, when they needed it most, Kongolo sent an ambitious looped ball forward, which fell for fellow defender Zanka in the box. In a tight situation, the centre-back did well to flick the ball into the path of the incoming Tom Ince, who finished confidently.
And you could see the absolute exhilaration that came with that goal and more importantly, the victory. The entire stadium (maybe except the away end) simply erupted as the final whistle blew. The players, manager and fans alike all knew how important this win was in the hope of another season in the Premier League. David Wagner looked on the verge of tears, as though it had just dawned on him exactly what he has achieved at Huddersfield Town.
The three points now elevate Wagner’s men to seven points above the relegation zone. It’s a massive step towards safety, but survival is certainly not guaranteed yet. After watching Southampton’s admirable performances lately, you get the feeling that Huddersfield still need to get something out of their remaining games to ensure they don’t drop into the relegation zone at the last hurdle.
This result shouldn’t concern Watford too much however, as they’re safety should already be secured. Furthermore, the performance was still decent from the Hornets – their opposition plainly wanted it and needed it more.
However, their remaining games come against teams all in good form, so complacency is something that Javi Gracia will be looking to avoid, especially considering they are realistically only two points above being in the almighty relegation scramble themselves.
If Watford stay where they are now, it will be their best ever Premier League campaign in terms of league position. But with the strictness of the club’s board being a well-known peculiarity when it comes to sacking managers, will this be enough for Gracia to keep his job? It may seem a strange decision if he were to be dismissed, but in recent years this managerial rotation hasn’t really done the club any harm, so who knows what will happen.Embed from Getty Images
With Manchester City now the official champions, and the top four almost settled at this point, a lot of the attention will turn to the bottom of the table, which has hosted one of the most immense battles for survival in Premier League history.
Southampton’s agonising defeat to Chelsea means that this win to Watford could be the defining moment of Huddersfield Town’s first ever season in the Premier League.
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