What We Learned From Town's Defeat to Derby County

"New Year New Me" we seem to say every year on January 1st whilst we nurse our hangovers and scour the internet for cheap gym memberships. For many this renewed vigour only lasts for a day or so before we quickly revert back to our slovenly ways of old.


In footballing terms, Huddersfield Town have done exactly that after losing their opening game of the Championship season 2-1 at home to Derby County. Jan Siewert has spoken of a change in attitude over the summer and of his desire to play fast, progressive attacking football.


After just 90 minutes of football it appears that those promises were nothing more than words, and that backing them up with actions is going to be very tough job indeed. On the evidence of this game Town are still the exact same team that plummeted down from the Premier League last season.



Defensive Errors


Tommy Elphick gifted the visitors the lead in the first-half when his misguided chest pass back to Kamil Grabara went askew. Tom Lawrence's chipped finish was superb, but it would not have been possible without Elphick's mistake.


Moments later Lawrence had doubled Derby's advantage with another stunning strike, yet another defensive error was at the root of it. As the ball hit the back of Kamil Grabara's goal, Kongolo led the group of players chastising Aaron Mooy for his poor marking.


The Australian gave Lawrence three yards of space, allowing him to receive the ball, turn and fire it into the Huddersfield goal. Of course both finishes from the Derby man were exceptional, but both could have been avoided had Town simply defended better.


Unimposing Midfield


A game of football is often won in the midfield and against Derby we lost the midfield battle, as we so often did last season. Our midfield trio of Hogg, Mooy and Bacuna failed to impose themselves on the game.


Not in a physical sense, rather technically. They failed to control the ball, pull the strings and dictate the play whereas the Derby midfield did quite the opposite. Too many times Mooy and Bacuna played support roles to Kongolo and Hadergjonaj.


Recycling the ball and laying it off to full-backs is easy and carries very little risk, but it also does little to help the team and advance the play. Town's midfielders need to remember that they have the ability to compete at this level and start showing it.



Profligate Attack


Elias Kachunga should have scored in the second-half when he skied an easy effort high and wide. Yet we shouldn't be lamenting that missed effort after the possession and territory that Town had in the second period.


Kacha's effort was the one and only time in the entire game when Town fashioned a goal scoring opportunity. Christopher Schindler's second-half attempt came through a defensive mistake and our goal came from the spot.


Time and time again Town threatened down the wings via the full-backs and time and time again they failed to find a player in blue and white. Time and time again Town looked to attack through the middle before turning on their heels and returning the ball back to the defence.


It's a story we're all familiar with, we've been watching it for the past 18 months and it's frustrating to see it once again. Town could have played for another hour against Derby and still not scored, but enough of that, what are the positives?


It's Early Days


Breaking a habit is difficult, and the Town team of now are in the habit of losing games and playing bad football. As soon as the going got tough against Derby, Town's players went back into their shells and reverted to their old ways.


It's second nature for them, they have been doing it for so long that they probably don't even consciously know they are doing it. But that is to be expected in the early part of this season and it will take a long time for this team to change their ways.


This defeat may feel like a kick in the teeth for some, but it is all part of the relegation cycle and there is plenty of time for things to change. Hopefully the team will recover some confidence away to QPR at the weekend and put the building blocks in place for a respectable season.

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