Huddersfield Town look to have booked early-bird tickets to next seasons Championship, all that's left to do now is check-in online and drive to the airport. Here we take a look at the major talking points from the away defeat to Newcastle.
Blunt & Benign
Today's statistics make for bad reading - 4 shots, 0 on target - but they are not entirely shocking. Huddersfield Town and rock-bottom West Brom are the joint lowest scorers in the league this season with a paltry 25 goals each.
The Terriers set-up from the beginning to play for a nil-nil draw and failed to show any sustained attacking threat throughout the game. Speaking after the game, Huddersfield head-coach David Wagner said this to the media;
“We had two big chances in the second-half, from Zanka on the set piece and at the end with Scott Malone. We didn’t use our chances and that is why we’ve lost the game today”
The chances he's referring to are firstly a free-header from Zanka that was blocked by a combination of Collin Quaner and Mo Diame and secondly, a bobble from the midriff of Scott Malone. Hardly quality chances.
Other than that there were two scuffed efforts from range and nothing else. Yes, we didn't take our chances, that much is true, but when we aren't creating anything of real note, it's incredibly hard to score.
David Wagner later went on to describe his tactical game-plan;
"It's a disappointing result for us. We aimed to frustrate them & hurt them on the counter-attack and that worked better in the second-half after we had first-half problems”
That was evident from how Town surrendered possession to the Magpies throughout the game, and was perhaps a good idea in principle. But principle and execution are two different things and Huddersfield abjectly failed to execute any form of tangible counter-attacking.
Last season the Terriers won at St. James Park by soaking up pressure and pouncing on the counter-attack with precision, power and incisiveness. Today that was sadly lacking and the tactical outlay was far too negative from the start.
Ricks, f*ck ups, mistakes. Call them what you want, but they are becoming all too common in Town's performances this year. In our last fixture a Mounie miss-kick led to Palace's opener and a rash Zanka challenge accounted for the second.
Today the blame lies at the door of Jonas Lossl. The Danish 'keeper came for a deep cross and got caught in two minds. Instead of punching the ball to touch or catching it he decided to limply palm it to a Newcastle forward. The ball was promptly cut-back and slotted into the back of the net by Ayoze Perez.
David Wagner cannot be held responsible for individual errors. The German's only influence in the matter is deciding when one individual error becomes too many. In the case of Lossl, statistically he is the worst regular 'keeper in the league.
His errors have directly led to goals on four separate occasions this season and his expected saves ratio is the lowest in the league. Perhaps it's time for David Wagner to hand Rob Green his chance in the first-team?
That's the reality that's slowly beginning to sink in around West Yorkshire. When the season began everyone told us that Huddersfield Town would be relegated, we forlornly agreed but defied them by saying we'd enjoy it whatever happened.
Then we started the campaign in scintillating form, which, when it petered out was replaced with sporadic victories that staved off the thoughts of relegation. Now, things are different. Our oomph seems to have gone and the prospect of relegation looms large on the horizon.
Here are some reasons to be fearful;
- Our remaining six fixtures are: Brighton (A), Watford (H), Chelsea (A), Everton (H), Man City (A), Arsenal (H)
-Our current form reads like this: LLLLWWLDLL
-Of our remaining six games only two could be classed as 'winnable'.
-Those two 'winnable' games are away to Brighton who are notoriously strong at the Amex and at home to a newly-resurgent Watford.
- Town have scored just 7 times in their last 10 league games with 4 of them coming in one game against Bournemouth taking the tally to 3 goals in 9 games.
But worry not, relegation is not the end of the world. It isn't a sleight on our team, nor is it an admission of weakness. We were always massive underdogs in this super-rich league of footballing luminaries and the Championship will probably be much more fun anyway!
Talking points that aren't quite important enough to warrant their own sub-sections;
-Kongolo: The left-back has the most enjoyable slide tackle I've ever seen, and possibly the longest legs in the known world.
-Kenedy: The Chelsea-loanee should have been sent off for a horrific challenge on Elias Kachunga in the second-period. However, a red card probably wouldn't have helped Town either way.
-Kachunga: The lightning winger looked lively and a real handful throughout, and his injury is a real shame for the side. Especially when you consider the dearth of talent in our current wingers.