David Wagner’s men head to Goodison Park tomorrow looking to do what no Town team has done there in 81 years, win. The chances of that record being ended on Saturday seem incredibly small considering Town’s and Everton’s contrasting form of late. Today we bring you our (almost) unmissable guide for the game, enjoy.
Shaking the hoodoos
The goal hoodoo: It’s no secret that Town are meek in front of goal; The Terriers have failed to score in 26 games since the start of last season. Most worryingly for tomorrow’s trip, Town’s goal-scoring record has been even worse on the road.
Last season Town won just three games on the road (Palace, Watford & West Brom) scoring just 12 goals in 19 games, with 9 of those goals coming in those 3 victories. Much of this was down to the containment tactics employed by David Wagner on the road.
When the shackles were loosened, the team often went on to get good results. Taking the handbrake off on Saturday could well see Town threaten the Everton goal and gain a positive result.
The Everton hoodoo: Traditionally Yorkshire teams have struggled when visiting the blue side of Liverpool. Rotherham were the latest White Rose team to be beaten at Goodison and Everton haven’t lost at home to a Yorkshire side since 1999.
As mentioned earlier, Town haven’t won on that particular ground in 81 years, losing their last 2 visits 0-2 and 1-5. Records and history can often have a strange effect on football players, hopefully Town’s current contingent see tomorrow’s game as an opportunity to alter history.
Meek vs Leak
When Everton visited West Yorkshire last season the discontent amongst their fans was obvious. Barring 20 minutes of goal celebrations, Toffees supporters spent the rest of the match singing “Fuck off Sam Allardyce!”
The Goodison faithful were less than impressed with Allardyce’s negative style, and this season they seem much happier with the free-flowing football employed by new manager Marco Silva.
Whilst their offensive play has improved, they have been leaky at the back, conceding 5 goals in 3 games so far and surrendering a 2-0 lead away to Bournemouth last weekend. Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane are both set to miss the clash with Town, and towering Colombian centre-back Yerry Mina also looks doubtful.
Town’s meek attack could not wish for a better time to face Everton and must surely fancy their chances of breaching the Toffees back-line. If Mounie and co can fire on all cylinders, perhaps Town will avoid the shame of only having one contender for the goal of the month competition for a second month running.
On Tuesday David Wagner was interviewed immediately after the 2-0 loss to Stoke in the League Cup, and for the first time in his reign, he seemed genuinely dejected. Which is understandable when you’ve just witnessed your side lose to lower league opposition and seen your new signing score one of the best/worst own goals of all-time.
Usually after a loss Wagner is keen to reinforce the positives, recognise areas for improvement and identify a plan to improve. On Tuesday he just looked and sounded downbeat, which is worrying going forward.
We are probably experiencing our most disappointing run of form under Wagner, and now more than ever is the time for bravery. The German coach needs to pick himself and his players up quickly and re-instill them with the confidence they need for the games ahead.
The easy option on Saturday would be to play a cautious game and slump to a respectable 2-0 loss. The brave option would be to pick the players up, tell them that they are good footballers and go out and attack Everton.
If Wagner opts for the latter and Town lose, whilst having a go at Everton, then confidence amongst the fans and players could well be restored. More of the same defensive fare will do nothing to help the players and fans out of their current malaise.
Here at TerrierBlog we have a feeling that tomorrow’s game could mark an important turning point in our season. We believe that Wagner will let the shackles off, and that the travelling fans will see a performance reminiscent of the trips to Vicarage Road and Selhurst Park last season.
Now is the time to attack a fragile Everton defence and we feel that Wagner will see this too and send his team out to rebuild the belief of the supporters. Therefore we’re predicting something that might take most of you by surprise, a 3-1 victory for the Terriers.
We’ll be back on Monday to review the game and provide you with player ratings, hopefully from a terrific Town away win. Until then, UTT.