Huddersfield Town sent shockwaves around the Championship on Saturday with a phenomenal win away to in-form Brentford. The victory dispelled the belief that the Terriers recent run of results were merely a flash in the pan and left our chief writer John, looking a little red-faced...
On Friday I posted my preview of the Brentford game, in which I predicted how the game might pan out. It’s fair to say that I was less than confident about Town’s chances at Griffin Park.
In my research for the piece, I came across numerous comments, from both fans of Brentford and their opponents, eulogising about the quality of Thomas Frank’s squad. The overall consensus was that the Bees had found a way to overcome stubborn opponents, and in doing so had hit a run of form that was likely to spark a playoff push.
In contrast, our form prior to Saturday’s game could be explained away by luck, moments of brilliance or the quality of the opposition. Therefore, I predicted a loss in this game and crossed my fingers and toes for a draw.
What happened, however, was a perfectly controlled performance that culminated in victory and sent a message to the rest of the teams in this division. As Christopher Schindler hinted, our display at Griffin Park gives other teams a blueprint of how to win there.
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However, it also sends out a signal that Huddersfield Town are not dead and that our upturn in form is no flash in the pan. After accruing one solitary point in eight league games, it appeared as if we were in for a long and potentially painful season.
Many fans - including myself - had grown so accustomed to losing that it began to stop hurting as much as it should. Six weeks on from the demoralising 4-2 defeat at the Hawthorns, Town find themselves in eighteenth position with fifteen more points to their name.
The salvage job that Danny and Nicky Cowley have done to our squad in that time has been nothing short of miraculous. The two brothers have transformed this team from a hodge-podge of down and outs to a well-oiled winning machine.
On Saturday they put in the type of complete performance you would usually associate with a vastly more experienced team - one that is gunning for promotion. Every player stuck to their roles and duties manfully, none more so than the consistently inspiring Christopher Schindler.
Huddersfield’s most handsome man, as he is known in this parish, was irrepressible on Saturday and set the tone for the rest of the team. In Ollie Watkins, free-scoring Brentford have one of the most dangerous forwards in the league, yet his threat was nullified superbly by Schindler and co.
(A scientific depiction of 'The Christopher Schindler effect'.)
Aside from Schindler, there were excellent performances all over the park; Karlan Grant was indeed electric, Lewis O’Brien was on fire and Kamil Grabara was commanding and composed.
It was perhaps the perfect all-round team performance and one that will have sent shockwaves around the league. Rightly so, no-one will be expecting a promotion push from Huddersfield Town anytime soon, but they will be aware of the Terriers renewed threat.
Managers keen on setting points targets for certain games will be frantically reassessing their opinions of Town. What was once seen as an easy three points will now be viewed as a tough, must-not-lose fixture.
It’s still premature to get carried away and set our sights on the playoffs, but it is not too soon to cast off the cobwebs of doom. Relegation was until recently a very real possibility, if not highly probable, now it is the furthest thing from our minds.
The improvement we have seen from this team in six weeks has been remarkable, and there is no reason to believe it cannot continue at least a little while longer. Although maybe not until next Saturday, we’re playing Preston at Deepdale and we always, always bloody lose there…
Until the next time, UTT!
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