It seems an age since Gareth Southgate’s men stumbled at the almost final hurdle in Russia, and that’s mainly because there’s been no football. It might not have come home, but finally, football is back, Premier League football at that.
I for one can’t bloody wait! I can’t wait to wake up on Saturday mornings with apprehension and sometimes a little hope, that those mighty terriers will have 3pts by 6pm that evening. Unlike last year though, there’s no fear of the unknown, we’ve played all the teams in the league and aside from a schooling from Spurs, on the whole we looked like we should be in the league, maybe only just, but we earned our spot amongst the elite.
Second season syndrome, the blight of so many other “small teams” who made it to the “big league” is this year’s biggest fear, although relegation will always hang over any team performing over their budget and expectations. For some reason while survival is David Wagner’s main stated aim, I don’t believe him, not one bit!
The overhaul of the squad during the off-season hasn’t seemed dramatic, as loan signings became permanent and a few spaced out incoming players, but Town have been quite prolific and frugal in the market.
Snapping up free transfers and what seem to be undervalued players with massive potential, given Wagner’s track record of enhancing the fitness and capabilities of his squad (just ask Gary Rowett about Tom Ince’s fitness before and after Herr Wagner's tutelage) we should see something that's hiding in plain sight, he's going to go for it a lot more this season, particularly against teams outside of the top 6.
Let's look at the players added to the squad
Lossl: Permanent (Heroic hand against Chelsea secured hero status)
Ben Hamer: Permanent (Rob Green/Joel Coleman replacement)
Flo: Permanent (Pacey, tenacious right-back with a decent cross)
Kongolo: Permanent (Colossus at the back and ever-willing runner)
Bacuna: Permanent (Box-to-box midfielder with tremendous potential)
Durm: Permanent (World Cup winning full-back)
Sohbi: Permanent (Stoke winger and Egypt’s third best player!).
Diakhaby: Permanent (Thierry Henry’s successor!)
Mbenza: Loan (Tremendously fast winger with an eye for goal and a direct playing style)
So taking these additions into account and what look like two razor sharp front men, it certainly looks like we're going to see more from Town going forward and hopefully what was missing a lot last year, goals!
Our tenacity in the tackle and our workrate was never really found lacking last year, with some added pace, skill and goals we should be in for a season to remember.
I believe we will surprise more than a few teams this year even after we announced ourselves last season, now we're more of a threat, our teeth are sharper and we're still Premier league. UTT.