TerrierBlog's festive contributor Stephan Roux gives his opinions on Steve Mounie's mini-revival at Huddersfield Town. In this article Stephan remembers the high hopes at Selhurst Park in 2017, Mounie's current place in the squad and the Cowley brothers dedication to set-pieces.
So a few weeks ago on this blog I wrote a piece stating the case for our own secret squirrel (Benin reference in case you missed it) Steve Mounie. While he's had his critics and this blog is amongst them I felt his prowess in the air and a considerable lack of height in the Town attack could combine well and prove very dangerous to opposition defences. Thankfully the Messrs Cowley have given him the chance to prove me correct.
Feeling somewhat vindicated for my piece having seen Stevie a) contribute to Schindler's first goal with a powerful knock down and b) score a headed goal of his own, let's take a deeper look at the case for Stevie...
Much has been made in the last few weeks of the prima donna wantaway players, Mbenza, Diahakaby and sadly magic man Terence kongolo, Danny Cowley said very clearly he only wanted 100%ers, then started playing Steve more regularly first as a substitute and now as a starter.
This speaks volumes about the way Steve has behaved behind the scenes and his application on the training ground. Indeed Cowley revealed post Forest that Mounie had been in for extra sessions with Nicky over the week, and that the hard work paid off with his excellent aerial goal.
Both these goals came from set piece plays, something that has been a particular weakness of Town sides for a number of years, whilst the Cowley’s claim to have accrued 25 goals a season from set-pieces at Lincoln. Imagine if we had 25 more goals in our two Premier League campaigns? Today's Town would look very, very different.
Now, set pieces require a few things not least of which is great drilling and practice something our Martin from Wakefield's doppelganger seemed resistant to and our beloved Wagner passed over for Gegenpressing drills.
The other requisite is an aerial presence allowing you to bypass various defenders and get the ball into the desired positions easily and ultimately score. Stevie gives us the second and the Cowleys are delivering the first from their dedication at canalside and their mysterious folder of set plays.
Danny Cowley described Stevie's aerial presence as his super power on Saturday evening and he's correct the stats don't lie, he wins high 90% of aerial duels. However as Cowley has also previously mentioned, to play with Mounie requires a different set up one which was very obviously missing last term and left him isolated up front, which contributed to his
dismal strike rate.
Like many, I remember his debut and our Premier League introduction at Palace and those two wonderful goals that made us all believe we belonged in the top division and that we had purchased a star in the making. The other thing that stood out for me that day was his defensive heading in the box from opposition corners, winning the ball and guiding it out to safety a characteristic that has often been overlooked.
(Steve Mounie's debut in the Premier League led one Match Of The Day pundit to liken the Town striker to Didier Drogba.)
So what have we learned? He's fantastic in the air, great for set pieces, quite a clinical finisher and above all one of the 100%ers. Let us hope this is something of a revival, he should be tearing up this league and scoring just as much as the electric man of the moment Karlan Grant.
If he can get anywhere near that figure, safety and even a push for promotion next season isn't beyond our reach. Although I would like it if he ran a bit more and put himself about a bit but we can't have everything. Until then we've been gifted an old new threat for our rivals to take seriously and a new outlet for the Cowleys tactical master plans to revolve around.
‘Till next time UTT