Disastrously inept, offensively naïve, cowardice personified. These are all descriptions that could be thrown at Huddersfield Town right now. At time of writing the Terriers are rock bottom of the Premier League having lost their seventh consecutive game of the month. Yes, that’s right, their SEVENTH straight loss.
Fulham, Manchester United, Southampton, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Brighton have all taken three points of David Wagner’s hapless team in December. In that period the side have managed to score four goals as well just to add insult to injury.
Anyway there’s no point acting like Kongolo when Sessegnon is running at him, let’s not back off anymore, and let’s dive into the post-mortem of Town’s mense horribilis.
Wagner in or Wagner out?
For what it’s worth, we here at TerrierBlog are still (just) behind David Wagner, especially as we are guaranteed to be playing Championship football next season. Could we get in another manager more capable of getting us back out of the Championship? Possibly. Is it worth the risk? We don’t think so.
However, if he were to be sacked tomorrow we don’t feel we could complain all that much. From his last 40 league games in charge, David Wagner has guided his side to 5 victories. Oh yes, you read that right. And in that time we’ve scored a grand total of 25 league goals.
A manager with a 12.5% win ratio in his last 40 league games should be very, very worried about his position. Regardless of the result against Burnley on the 2nd of January, Town need to play attacking football.
If David Wagner chooses another defensive line-up in that game, then he may well deserve to go. Surrendering and admitting inferiority is completely incongruent with the #NoLimits and #TerrierSpirit ideologies.
Which players are to blame?
We have been critical of several players on these pages in the past, but today it feels harsh to criticise any individual player. Yes, several of them have made mistakes and let the team down over the course of the season, but we don’t blame them - they have been shackled by terrible tactics.
Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre are statistically two of the worst strikers in Premier League history – Mounie in particular. We simply do not know if they are capable of better because they have never been allowed the chance to show it.
Would either of those strikers score more goals in a side that plays with wingers as wingers and without 49 full-backs on the pitch at one time? Probably, but who knows, so it’s impossible to criticise them right now.
The same goes for every other player you can think of in that squad that could be deserving of criticism. The manager hasn’t given them the opportunity to express themselves and play to their full potential.
Shadows of Lee Clark
When the effervescent Geordie took over the reins at Huddersfield there was a real air of optimism amongst supporters. Clark promised to bring full-throttle, attacking football to the side and he duly delivered on that.
Promotion was twice snatched from his fingers in the play-offs and after the 3-0 loss to Peterborough at Old Trafford, Clark lost his bottle. At the start of the next season the attacking vigour disappeared and Clark instructed his team to adopt a defence first mentality.
That took us on a fabulous unbeaten run but the negative football and subsequent draws caught up with the Geordie and he paid the price with his job. Contrast that to David Wagner and it’s strinkingly similar.
Replace the 3-0 loss to Peterborough with the 4-0 defeat by Spurs, omit the unbeaten run and both situations are almost identical. Obviously Wagner has achieved more than Clark but the pattern is the same.
Continue on this defensive path and Wagner will find himself in the exact same position as Lee Clark after the home loss to Sheffield United.
Is Burnley the final straw?
Many believe it should be, whether or not it will be is a different question. However if Wagner throws caution to the wind and finally returns to the style of football that made us fall in love with him, he will buy himself more time and restore the faith of some wavering fans.
Relegation is guaranteed as we said before, but we can at least go down with a bit of dignity intact. If he continues to show a lack of bravery with his set-up, then unfortunately he has to go. It's a sad thing to type and we hope it doesn't happen, so please David Wagner, let the shackles off and let's give it a bloody good go!