Promoted Teams Analysis FPL 2017/18 Huddersfield
After watching supposed smaller teams like Wigan, Swindon, Blackpool and Bradford make it to the premiership in the past, 2017/18 is Huddersfield Town’s turn after 45 years away from the top division!! Personally, I’m still in shock and never thought I would see it in my lifetime, though I did dare to dream and admit to shedding a tear, along with a lot of others, when that final penalty went in, in the playoff final at Wembley! Only after the Premier league fixtures came out and Town started signing players for £10m+ did it begin to sink in we are Premier League!!
It could be said that Huddersfield exceeded all expectations after finishing the previous season in 19th place and were tipped by Ian Holloway to be relegated. With a budget of just £12m to play with Town finally finished 5th in the championship as Wagner rested players towards the end of the season when the play-offs were assured and somehow became the first side to reach said play-offs with a negative goal difference.
Huddersfield clinched a Wembley showdown against Reading by beating Sheffield Wednesday on spot kicks after their two-legged semi-final finished level at 1-1. The final was a tense affair and finished goalless after 120 mins, but the Terriers held their nerve again to win on penalties with Chris Schindler being the hero slotting the final spot kick past Ali Al Habsi. Quite rightly David Wagner was voted last years championship manager of the year!
Because quite a few of you probably haven’t even heard of Huddersfield, I thought I would include a few facts about the town and the club.
Located in God’s country (Yorkshire) Huddersfield is the eleventh largest town in the UK and is a former mill town known for its roll in the industrial revolution and for being the birth place of Rugby league, labour prime minister Harold Wilson and film star James Mason.
New Dr. Who Jodie Whittaker and Game of Thrones star Lena Heady are from the town, as is Star Trek and X Men star Patrick Stewart who was seen down at the John Smiths stadium most home games last season cheering his team on.
Formed in 1908, in 1926 Huddersfield became the first ever English club to win three successive titles, a feat which only three other clubs (Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United) have achieved. They also won the FA Cup in 1922 and have been runners-up on four other occasions. They last played in the top flight in 1972 and have in the past had some iconic managers including Herbert Chapman who revolutionised Arsenal so much they have a statue outside the Emirates Stadium and Bill Shankly who was so successful at Liverpool they have a statue of him outside the Kop.
Flood lights were installed at the old Leeds Road ground in 1961 financed by the sale of a certain Denis Law to Manchester City!
Famous former players apart from Law include Ray Wilson, Frank Worthington and a certain Sam Allardyce, who I remember watching from the terrace as a lad, running half the length of the pitch to punch an opposition player (Jeff Hopkins) after a reckless tackle on his teammate David Burke. Oh how we sang his name after he received a straight red and was seen to be chasing Hopkins, who also got a red, down the tunnel.
In 1994 Huddersfield Town moved to their new stadium, now known as the John Smiths Stadium and in 2003 the club went into administration narrowly avoiding liquidation.
Local man and former card factory owner Dean Hoyle took over as Town Chairman in 2009.
November 2015 David Wagner was appointed as Town coach.
Huddersfield are the thirteenth most successful club in English football in terms of league titles, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur!
So now you are all educated on the town and the club let’s get to the important part, the players!
David Wagner’s most used formation last season was a 4-2-3-1 formation that morphs into a 2-4-3-1 in possession and 4-1-4-1 without the ball. When attacking the wingers tend to tuck inside, allowing space for the full backs to get forward and offer support from deep.
So this is more or less how Wagner’s team set up last season:
Smith Hefele Schlndler Lowe
Kachunga Palmer Van La Parra
Onto the players…
Goal Keeper and Defenders
Town only managed 12 clean sheets last season with just 6 at home, conceding 56 goals in their 46 championship games. With on loan Danny Ward returning to his parent club Liverpool. The Terriers moved to sign Danish international Jonas Lossl (4.5m) on loan from Bundesliga side FSV Mainz. The 29 year old 6ft 5in stopper made 27 appearances last season keeping 5 clean sheets. Although Mainz had a difficult season, the great Dane is highly thought of and supposed to be “a great shot stopper and good with the ball at his feet”, according to the Town coach.
Mathias Jorgenson (Zanka) (4.5) is another Dane, signed from F.C. Copenhagen this summer. The experienced 27 year old centre back made 33 league appearances, 6 champions league appearances and 3 Europa League appearances (2 goals) last season for the Danish league winners. He also has 11 caps for his country and is expected to push Michael Hefele for a place in the back four alongside Chris Schindler.
Hefele (4.5m) made 31(9) appearances at centre back last year grabbing 3 goals and became a cult hero with his “Its a F*cking dream” comment when interviewed by a Sky interviewer after grabbing the winner to beat bitter Yorkshire rivals Leeds United at the John Smith’s stadium in February. The German was occasionally moved up front when Town were chasing matches late on and as a result a total of 28 efforts on goal is more than double that of Chris Schindler.
Schindler (4.5m) was nearly an ever present last term as he made 46(1) appearances for The Terriers helping himself to 2 goals and 2 assists and was a commanding presence at the back winning 4.4 headers per appearance, more than twice his central defensive partner Hefele. The German, who has represented his national side at U21 level, was signed from 1860 Munich in 2016 where he made 152 appearances scoring 4 goals.
At leftback is another German, Chris Lowe (no not the Pet shop boy !) (4.5m). Signed from Kaiserslauten in 2016, Lowe made 99 appearances over 3 years for the Bundesliga side scoring 4 goals. Last season in the Championship he made 42(2) appearances for Town, grabbing 2 goals and 2 assists. One of these goals was a penalty as he took over spot kick duties towards the end of the season from previous penalty takers Van La Parra and Aaron Mooy who managed to miss 2 out of 3 between them. Lowe’s place will be under serious pressure from another new recruit Scott Malone (4.5m)!
Malone is an attack minded full back who can also play on the left side of midfield. The 26 year old had a fantastic season last term helping The Cottagers to clinch a play off place grabbing himself 6 goals and 3 assists in 36(2) games in the process. Indeed one of those goals was against his new club at the John Smith’s stadium! His performances earned him a place in both the EFL and PFA’s Championship team of the season and if Malone can nail down that left back spot he could be a very shrewd investment, though this is what Wagner had to say after the signing “we already have a very good left back in Chris Lowe, but as we enter our first Premier League season it is so important to have competition and the ability to rotate our side, as we did so successfully last season “
Another attack minded full back is Tommy Smith (5m). The jewel in Towns back line last season, Smith arrived from Manchester City’s academy in 2010. He broke into Towns first team in 2012 and last season helped himself to an impressive 4 goals and 10 assists in 45(2) appearances and made a total of 53 key passes more than any defender in the championship also earning himself a place in The Championship team of the year.
Another player earning himself a place in the Championship team of the year was Aaron Mooy (5.5m) The Australian international started his career at Bolton. Not able to break into the first team there he moved to St Mirren in 2010 where he made 21 appearances scoring 1 goal. In 2012 Mooy moved back to Australia signing for Melbourne City where he made 53 appearances scoring 18 goals before Manchester City signed him in 2016 and then loaned him straight to Huddersfield. The 26 year old playmaker was one of the main pieces in the jigsaw of David Wagner’s play-off winning side scoring 4 goals (1 pen) and grabbing 7 assists in 45 appearances. He averaged 1.4 shots per game with a pass success rate of 82.6% and was on most set pieces including corners and penalties until Lowe took over spot kick duties.
The arrival of Tom Ince (6m) from Derby appears to have taken away set piece duties from Mooy although at the time of writing they hadn’t appeared on the pitch together in a Town shirt. Signed from Derby for a fee thought to be close to 11 million, Ince is best known for his time at Blackpool where he scored 31 goals in 100 appearances for the Tangerines. After leaving Blackpool Ince’s career seemed to stall. After an unsuccessful loan at Crystal Palace, Hull City signed him in 2014 before loaning him to Nottingham forest in the same year after making only 7 appearances. Again things didn’t work out at Forest as he only made 6 appearances before moving onto Derby in 2015 again on loan. Here Ince’s career kick started again as he made 18 appearances scoring 11 goals. Derby took him on a permanent contract that summer splashing the cash in a 4.75m deal. Last season Ince was a revelation, scoring 14 goals (2 pens) and grabbing himself 6 assists in 41(4) appearances and averaged 2.9 shots per game with a pass success percentage of 83.5 %. The versatile midfielder can play CM, LM or RM and will, in my opinion replace Rajiv van la Parra (5.5m) on the left side of midfield, with VLP dropping to the bench. Wagner will be hoping Ince can boost Towns goal output if they are to stay in the Premiership. Indeed Ince has already scored 3 goals in 3 friendlies for Town in the pre-season build up.
Another player who will be hoping he can carry on from where he left off last season is Elias Kachunga (5.5m). Signed initially on loan from German team Inglostadt last summer, the pacy attacker was snapped up on a permanent deal in March for 1.1m. Playing mainly on the right where he linked up well with Tommy Smith, he occasionally played as striker and finished the season as Towns top scorer with 12 goals and a couple of assists from 44(1) appearances.
Another new signing is Danny Williams (5m) from Reading. He doesn’t really have any FPL relevance with just 4 goals and 1 assist from 39(5) appearances last season and will probably compete with Jonathan Hogg (4.5m) for the double pivot role alongside Mooy.
One player flying slightly under the radar is Kasey Palmer (5.5m). The Chelsea youth team player, tipped as one of the academies most promising talents, is an England U21 star and joined Huddersfield on loan last July making 16(9) appearances notching 4 goals and 3 assists in just over 1300 minutes of action before an achilles injury in February ruled him out till returning for the playoff final as a substitute. Playing in the AMC role, Chelsea must rate him quite highly as they extended his contract on July 3rd, tying him to the club until 2021, before loaning him back to Town a day later for next season. If Palmer kicks on this season he definitely could be one to watch.
Now anybody that watched Huddersfield last season will know it was blatantly obvious from early on in the season that the club were crying out for a decent striker. Nakhi Wells (5.0m) only managing 10 goals in 34(12) appearances and the club only managing 56 goals in 46 games reflected the problem. Colin Quaner (4.5m) was bought in the January transfer window to try and rectify the problem, but could only grab a paltry 2 goals from 9(10) appearances. Wagner knew that bolstering his attack was a priority and moved to bring in Steve Mounie (6.0m) from Montpellier for a club record transfer fee of 11.4m. The Benin international arrives as hot property having bagged 14 goals(6 headers) and 3 assists in 32 starts in his first full season in the French top division. Previously the 20 year old spent a season on loan at French league 2 side Nimes where he notched 11 goals in 32 appearances. Mounie posses good movement and pace for a player of 6ft 3in and is able to drift out wide and play as a winger if required. Given his fee I’d expect him to start in the lone striker role ahead of another new signing Laurent Depoitre (5.5m)
Depoitre was Wagner’s first signing of the summer from Porto for a fee believed to be in the region of 3.5m. The 6ft 3in Belgian international made his name at Gent where he amassed 27 goals and 14 assists in 70 league outings and also made 7 champions league appearances, scoring once. He joined Porto in August 2016 for 6 million euros, but failed to establish himself in the first team making only 7 appearances scoring once. Depoitre has been described as “a physical target man” who’s major strength is his aerial ability and has been likened to compatriot Christian Benteke.
Hopefully the signings of Mounie, Ince and Depoitre will add the much needed firepower Huddersfield need to keep them in the Premiership and with their favourable opening fixtures of cpl,NEW,SOT,whm,LEI there is every chance of them getting off to a good start.
This is the way I expect Wagner’s men to line up:
Smith Zanka/Hefele Schlndler Lowe/Malone
Kachunga Palmer Ince
Thanks for reading Promoted Teams Analysis FPL 2017/18 Huddersfield. This article was written by Brookyboy
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