Everton vs Huddersfield Town Preview: Can the Terriers push away day woes aside to make Big Sam's start a miserable one?

Everton vs Huddersfield Town Preview: Can the Terriers push away day woes aside to make Big Sam's start a miserable one?

Sam Allardyce might still be in awe of the fact he's become the manager of a Premier League club with more points than games played, and has the perfect chance to get off to a perfect start on Saturday afternoon against David Wagner's out-of-form Huddersfield Town.

Alex Turk

Huddersfield Town travel down the M62 on Saturday afternoon to face Everton, who will be hoping to be rejuvenated by the arrival of Sam Allardyce as manager after a troubled start to the 2017-18 season under the guidance of Ronald Koeman and David Unsworth.

David Wagner’s newly promoted side have started their debut Premier League season in respectable fashion, claiming 15 points from 14 games and achieving one of the biggest scalps in the club’s history in October – a 2-1 win against Manchester United.

The Toffees, however, have endured a nightmare start to the campaign after spending a club record £142m on new faces in the summer and sit just five points above the relegation zone with the same tally as of Saturday’s opponents.

Everton were just above the bottom three, before storming to a 4-0 victory over former manager David Moyes’ struggling West Ham United in Unsworth’s last game in charge as temporary boss, and will be confident of securing a similar result at Goodison Park once again.

Huddersfield suffered their joint-worst defeat in Wagner’s reign on Wednesday night, losing 5-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, which continued torrid away form since promotion to the top-flight.

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Match Facts

This weekend’s match-up will be the first since August 2010, a League Cup second round clash on Merseyside where the hosts thumped the then-League One side 5-1 – Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell, Jermaine Beckford, Louis Saha and Leon Osman bagged the goals.

Everton haven’t been beaten by the Terriers on home soil since losing 2-1 in a 1937 Division One fixture and have won 11 of their 13 following meetings – Town’s last victory in this fixture came at the John Smith’s Stadium in 1966.

Sam Allardyce watched the Toffees claim their first clean sheet in 14 competitive matches as they piled the misery on West Ham on Wednesday night and now have hope to turn their fortunes around on the back of just one defeat in four league matches, after being toppled in six of the previous eight.

The fact that Everton’s defeat versus Burnley at Turf Moor last season was the only time they’ve been beaten by a newly-promoted team in their last 20 bouts also acts as a promising omen for Allardyce and co.

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After arriving on the Premier League scene with a shock 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, Huddersfield Town have endured hell on earth in away fixtures since that historic day – that win is Town’s sole top-flight success on the road in their last 22 attempts.

David Wagner’s men have lost six times and drawn once on their travels in all competitions after the opening weekend this term, failing to score in any of those matches while shipping 16 goals themselves.

Furthermore, their away day woes have gradually been getting worse and worse as the weeks have gone by; losing 2-0 at Swansea City, 3-0 at Liverpool, 4-0 at AFC Bournemouth and 5-0 at Arsenal in their last four league trips.

The Terriers’ goal drought as visitors has contributed to their unwelcome label as third shiest goalscorers in the Premier League ahead of Palace and Swansea, and failure to score on Saturday would equal the club record of seven straight league away fixtures without scoring, set 29 years ago.

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Team News

Michael Keane watched Everton’s mid-week triumph from the sidelines after being forced off late on in the 4-1 loss against Southampton last weekend but has been training well and boosts Sam Allardyce’s defensive options.

Oumar Niasse is another welcome returnee for the home side after serving his two-game suspension for simulation, however, Leighton Baines will not be available due to a calf strain suffered at Saint Mary’s.

The visitors will be without influential winger Rajiv van La Parra - he’ll be serving the second instalment of his three-match ban for the heated altercation with Leroy Sané that earnt him a straight red card after Sunday’s home defeat to Pep Guardiola’s flying Manchester City.

Important attacking duo Tom Ince and Laurent Depoitre might be recalled to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench for Wednesday’s journey down to North London, where Steve Mounié started his first game upfront since returning from injury.

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The Referee

Chris Kavanagh only became a Select Group One referee at the beginning of this season and will, therefore, take charge of his fifth ever Premier League fixture when the West Yorkshire club travel to the North West.

It’s been a five-year journey to the top level for Kavanagh as he was officiated National League matches in 2012, and officiated the 2017 League One Play-Off final between Millwall and Bradford City.

Kavanagh watched over Huddersfield’s 0-0 stalemate at Burnley in September, the Terriers’ best away result since turning over the Eagles at the start of August, but has never refereed an Everton match.

Hopefully the nerves of being the man in the middle at such a raucous ground like Goodison Park won’t affect his performance and the fixture between 14th and 15th in the league will be one to remember.