Another day, another dollar. Another game, another loss, such is the way of things at the moment. Huddersfield Town’s latest defeat came at the hands of Burnley in a ‘relegation 6-pointer.’
Without covering the same old ground, let’s take a look back at what we learned from Town’s 8th consecutive defeat.
The game is up
We’ve suggested in previous posts that relegation is guaranteed this season, but last night’s game confirmed it. Huddersfield are currently 8 points from safety in the Premier League, and 30 short of the magical 40-point mark.
To reach that points tally, Town would have to win twice as many games in the next four months as they have done in the last thirteen. 35 points might just be enough to stay up this season, but even that figure seems way beyond this current squad.
With that in mind, we need to change the way that we judge the rest of the season. We can’t judge this side as a Premier League side, we must judge them as a Championship one in waiting.
The 'Terrier Identity' makes a brief return
Last night’s line-up filled expectant Town fans with joy as David Wagner seemed to return to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Yes there were a little nerves from the players, and it looked like it was tough for them to adjust early on.
However the team took the lead and looked good value for it. An equaliser was conceded, but the game was still there for the taking up until Christopher Schindler’s dismissal, which ultimately ended the game as a contest.
Ill-discipline costs Town again
Home games against Cardiff, Brighton and Burnley have yielded just 1 point but 3 red cards. Jonathan Hogg, Steve Mounie and Christopher Schindler have all been guilty of a certain degree of recklessness.
Perhaps 2 of those dismissals were harsh, but on every occasion, a Town player gave the referee a decision to make. That lack of nous has potentially cost us 8 points – which is the current gap between Town and safety.
Following Burnley’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this season, Sean Dyche launched into a furious diatribe about diving, in which he said;
“We’re on about blatant, no touch, no contact; about phantom touches and people just jumping up in the air and going over,” Dyche said. “The absolute cheating, dives. No one seems to want to do anything about it, apart from me.
“Even at the end, [Matej] Vydra goes through and touches Xhaka marginally on his shoulder and Xhaka goes down and gets a free-kick. It’s centre-halves now – going down after hardly anything. Incredible.”
That was just a month ago, and in that time Dyche has clearly changed his stance on the ‘darker arts’ of Premier League football. Judging from the play-acting performances of his players last night, Dyche clearly thought, ‘if you can’t beat them, join ‘em’.
Hypocrisy is not something new in football and it shouldn’t be surprising to see Sean Dyche falling into the trap of being a ‘hypocritical moaner’. Perhaps in the future though, treat a Sean Dyche post-match interview with the same contempt as a Donald Trump speech on his infamous ‘wall’.
What next for Town?
Well a trip to Bristol City in the FA Cup, where it’s likely that David Wagner will choose to rotate his squad heavily as is customary. Billing will be sure to get a rest as the midfielder has looked burnt-out in recent weeks with Bacuna likely to be his replacement.
Expectations for the game are dependent on the squad and formation that Wagner goes with. Personally we’d like to see a ‘strongish’ line-up as a cup run could provide a welcome relief from the recent terrors of the league.
In the transfer market, a deal for Jason Puncehon looks close to being finalised after Jadon Brown joined the development squad from Tottenham. A striker, a centre-back and central midfield cover should be the priorities for Town as the month progresses.
These key acquisitions should help to improve performances as the season goes on, but they should also put us in a good position for the hustle and bustle of the Championship next season.