A promising start to Premier League life ignited a sense of optimism in the Terriers’ loyal supporters, but a string of relatively poor results has extinguished the flame, and the realisation of the tough climb ahead has started to sink in.
By relatively poor, I refer to the two points that Huddersfield have picked up in the last five games, compared to seven in their first five. Sitting in twelfth place is probably more than many would have expected at this stage, but looking at a few of the fixtures that the they have coming their way, you would imagine there’s only one direction the Terriers will be going along the Premier League table in the near future.Embed from Getty Images
Indeed, the honeymoon period has ended for Huddersfield Town, and improvement may need to be implemented sooner rather than later if a relegation battle is to be avoided further down the line.
The Missing Mounié
The poor scoring form of late from the Terriers can’t go unnoticed. Granted, Huddersfield weren’t particularly high scorers in their promotion campaign last season, but the Premier League is a completely different kettle of fish. Based on their tally of five goals so far, Huddersfield are projected to finish the campaign with a meagre twenty-four.
Perhaps the cause of this lack of goals is the absence of record signing striker Steve Mounié. The 23-year-old has not featured for over a month, and the two goals he put past Crystal Palace on the opening weekend is really the only contribution he has made on the pitch for his new club, yet he still remains their top scorer.
Fortunately for David Wagner, the Benin international is expected to make a return against Manchester United on Saturday. The possibility of his reappearance impacting the overall result of this particular match is unlikely, but if Mounié can manage to score against the best defence in the league so far, it will certainly be a positive sign for the team.
Lack of Service
Despite missing their main striker, one thing that can’t be used as an excuse is an absence of aerial threat, a quality shared by both Steve Mounié and the team’s other new striker, Laurent Depoitre. The two forwards were obviously brought in to provide an end result to attacks down the wing from Kachunga and van La Parra.
However, the latter part of the season so far has seen a noticeable drop in the number of crosses being put into the penalty area, which was an impressive part of Huddersfield’s game to begin with. This has led to Depoitre being starved of service, and has meant that he quite simply hasn’t had enough chances to score.
In fact, the attacking mentality that Huddersfield started the season with seems to be fizzling out a little, perhaps as confidence begins to fade in the squad.
This was especially clear during their last outing at Swansea City, but not just because of Jonas Lössl’s wayward pass that brought about the home side’s first goal.
The defenders and midfielders’ distribution on the day was far from its best, and the team didn’t display a lot of composure in their passing, another striking trait that they showed during the opening games.Embed from Getty Images
Having said that, six of Huddersfield’s nine goals conceded so far have come in the last two games, four of which were against Tottenham Hotspur, and one of which came when the ever-crucial Aaron Mooy was not present versus Swansea.
Overall, the current form shouldn’t worry fans too much yet. The Terriers are after all forcing draws here and there, and nine points in the first eight fixtures is not bad going for a team who have not experienced top flight football for 45 years. But Huddersfield Town could quickly be realising that, although they have climbed the foot of the mountain with ease, the climb is looking a lot steeper from here on in.
Written by Harry Mahon.