Huddersfield Town vs AFC Bournemouth
Venue: John Smith Stadium
Referee: Andre Marriner
Rock bottom Huddersfield Town take on a beleaguered Bournemouth side who are without a win in their last five league games.
It’s no secret that Huddersfield are failing desperately at the bottom of the league. Last week’s loss to Brighton won’t have helped either; the Terriers were looking to bounce back after their last gasp win against Wolves but again, they suffered defeat. Bournemouth were run ragged by City last week who dominated from start to finish. Despite the narrow and misleading scoreline of one nil – the statistics tell a very different story. Both sides come into this fixture after suffering narrow losses and will be looking to put things right in West Yorkshire this Saturday.
From their three victories this season, two have come at home and the Terriers will look to take advantage of a deflated Bournemouth side at the John Smith’s Stadium. All three of Town’s wins have been very low scoring, in total; four goals and three clean sheets has been enough.
This displays how crucial it is for the Terriers to score first and proves how they are actually capable of holding a lead. The problem lies in actually scoring first – in the 29 matches played, Town have conceded first in 20 of those games, and they’ve lost 21 games, highlighting how important the beginnings of the games are for Siewert’s side.
Bournemouth are being labelled the most ‘inconsistent’ team in the league at the moment. Back at the end of January, the Cherries steamrolled Chelsea into a crisis after beating them four nil, a game later, and they lost to relegation candidates Cardiff. A problem that head coach Eddie Howe needs to sort. The South-Coast side are currently sitting in 12th place, which is a fair position given their inconsistent form and wide-ranging results.
Last week they were given a lesson in football by current league leaders, Manchester City. Bournemouth had zero shots in the entirety of the game and were seriously restricted to just 18% of possession. However, this gameweek you would expect the Cherries to come out of a defensive shell and be more aggressive – seeing as Huddersfield have only netted 15 goals this season.
Last time the two sides met, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser both scored and assisted each other as Bournemouth ended a four game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield. Terence Kongolo was the only scorer for Town, scoring his only goal of the season. This weekend the visitors may be without the influential Callum Wilson though, the Englishman has been absent for the past six league games and remains doubtful to make his return against the Terriers.
Since the beginning of the season he has a total of 10 goals and eight assists and has since made his debut for the Three Lions against the USA, in which he netted his first international goal. His absence could be a let off for the leaky Town defence, who have conceded four goals from Callum Wilson in the last two seasons.
Huddersfield: Huddersfield Town’s injury list hasn’t got any better, with a long list unavailable to face the Cherries this weekend. Diakhaby, the former Monaco winger was beginning to grow into the Town team, however the talented youngster is still sidelined with a hamstring injury and will return at the earliest of the 30th March. Issac Mbenza, who is on loan from Montpellier will be out for at least another week with an ongoing calf issue.
Ramadan Sobhi is a doubt due to a lack of match fitness whilst Jonathon Hogg has a slight rib injury and it is also unknown whether he will be fit to start. Van La Parra and Williams both remain out with long term injuries.
Bournemouth: Bournemouth likewise are suffering from an injury crisis of their own as defensive duo Simon Francis and Steve Cook are both long term absentees. Francis is suffering from an ACL injury and is expected back for the end of June. Steve Cook picked up a groin injury against Liverpool three weeks ago and has since missed all three matches – his return date is unknown.
Midfielders, Junior Stanislas and Lewis Cook are both out with serious injuries. Stanislas who has only one goal this season is suffering from a thigh injury, his return is also unknown. Cook is recovering from an ACL and might return as early as June, depending on his speed of recovery.
Dominic Solanke, who signed for the Cherries for £15 million from Liverpool will sit this one out with a thigh injury. The Englishman is still yet to get of the mark for his new side and hasn’t scored all season. The Englishman is likely to return next week against Newcastle where he’ll be keen to score his first for the club. Callum Wilson could be back in time for this weekends clash, as he is only suffering from a lack of match fitness. This may well mean that the striker makes a cameo appearance to bolster his fitness levels, but he could well make his first start after six games out.
Predicted Starting XIs
Huddersfield Town (4-1-2-1-2): Lössl; Bacuna, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Stankovic; Mooy, Billing; Pritchard, Grant, Mounie
Bournemouth AFC (4-2-2): Boruc; Clyne, Mepham, Aké, A Smith; Brooks, Lerma, Gosling, Fraser; Wilson, King
Score prediction: Huddersfield Town 1 AFC Bournemouth 2