A shocking win at Selhurst Park, Huddersfield leave their first ever Premier League game topping the table, whilst Crystal Palace fans get the first glimpse of what could be a long season ahead.
The Terriers are the 48th team to play in the Premier League and two months ago were solid favourites to finish in the bottom three. A handful of signings over the summer however began to leave transfer window followers believing that Huddersfield have a chance of survival. The main man of the afternoon ended up being their record signing Steve Mounié, who bagged two excellent goals in the ultimately comfortable 3-0 victory.
Crystal Palace started the match in a rather unsteady fashion with some wayward passes in their own half of the pitch often finding their way to the opposition, who were immediately showing their intent with some intense pressure to get the ball back and some aggressive tackles from behind.
Huddersfield got a few tame shots away with plenty of attacks coming from Tom Ince down the left hand wing. The opener came in the 23rd minute when former Manchester City loanee Aaron Mooy swung the Terriers’ third corner into the penalty area. A flick on from Christopher Schindler sent the ball to the back post where Zanka hit it into Joel Ward’s knee, the ricochet putting Huddersfield into an unexpected 1-0 lead.
Almost every travelling fan wearing blue and white stripes were on their feet while the Terriers continued to create chances down the wing, and just three minutes later, Steve Mounié seized his first debut goal. The 6ft3 Beninese international leaped onto a wonderful curling cross sent in by Aaron Mooy, heading the ball straight into the top left corner, stopping Huddersfield from going ten hours without one of their own players scoring.
The last fifteen minutes of the first half saw Crystal Palace create a few chances. In particular, Wilfried Zaha registered one or two shots on target but nothing fruitful came from it. Puncheon blasted the ball over the crossbar from outside the box before Jon Moss blew the whistle for half time.
Palace continued this pressure in the first part of the second half, but the Terriers’ defence didn’t buckle, and Jonas Lössl showed great reactions as he pulled off a rather spectacular save to his right, with Christian Benteke almost ready to celebrate a headed goal.
It wasn’t long before the Yorkshire outfit started to attack again themselves, and the Palace defence returned to their nervous state, a sloppy pass by Joel Ward being latched on by Mounié. Timothy Fosu-Mensah managed to save the Eagles this time, but the 78th minute saw Mounié grab his second goal and seal the win for Huddersfield with a high quality finish on the end of a quick counter attack.
Through the final ten minutes of the came, Huddersfield fans were chanting the name of their new star in between spells of “we are top of the league”, whereas Crystal Palace fans were left stunned and wondering whether this could be another difficult season.
Obviously it’s early days yet, but it’s onwards and upwards into the next game against Newcastle for the Terriers, whilst Palace have a lot to improve before their next fixture away to Liverpool.
Written by Harry Mahon.