Huddersfield Town 2017-18 season review: Tenacious Terriers secure top-flight status in maiden campaign

Huddersfield Town certainly weren't bystanders in their first year as a Premier League club – with ups and downs along the way, ultimately securing their top-flight status in the penultimate game of the season.

Huddersfield Town 2017-18 season review: Tenacious Terriers secure top-flight status in maiden campaign
Huddersfield celebrate survival at Stamford Bridge. Credit: Catherine Ivil (Getty Images)

Huddersfield Town returned to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1972 in the 2017/18 campaign – their first time in the Premier League – and they certainly made an impact.

The Terriers finished 16th, with 37 points – four points clear of relegation, after 9 wins, 10 draws, and 19 losses – which was certainly considered as an overachievement for the ‘underdogs’.

Thanks to the heroics of head coach David Wagner, his backroom staff, and the incredible performances and togetherness of the squad – the West Yorkshire side will have at least one more season in the Premier League.

Summer Spending

After securing promotion through the Skybet Championship Playoffs, it was clear that Huddersfield were going to have to invest in plenty of signings if they were to compete in one of the best leagues in the world.

In total, it is estimated that the Terriers spent approximately £45 million in the summer transfer window, as well as offering new and improved contracts to many of their play- off squad members.

Laurent Depoitre, Aaron Mooy, Jonas Lössl (loan, Mainz), Tom Ince, Kasey Palmer (loan, Chelsea), Danny Williams, Steve Mounié, Scott Malone, Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jørgensen, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Florent Hadergjonaj (loan, Inglostadt) and Robert Green all joined the Terriers ready for an intense season.

Dream Start to Premier League life

Huddersfield headed to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace for their maiden Premier League game, and Wagner’s side stunned the Eagles with a 3–0 win, thanks to an own goal from Joel Ward and a Mounié brace.

Town ended the first day of the season top of the table.

The first Premier League fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium came against fellow promoted side Newcastle United, and thanks to Aaron Mooy’s incredible goal, the Terriers continued their dream start.

A 0–0 draw against Southampton followed, to allow Wagner’s side to remain unbeated during the first month – an accolade which saw Wagner be awarded Premier League Manager of the Month for August.

A Tough September and October, except for one standout against the Red Devils

Huddersfield suffered their first taste of defeat after September’s international break against West Ham United, before following it with two creditable draws against Leicester City and Burnley.

The end of September saw Huddersfield host Tottenham Hotspur, a game which, despite the 4–0 loss, had a huge impact on their season.

The Terriers were seen to be given a footballing ‘lesson’ from Spurs, and it allowed the Terriers to reflect and change their approach for other games against the ‘top six’.

A dire 2–0 defeat to Swansea City, was followed by the game of the season against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.

The Red Devils suffered their first defeat of the season to the tenacious terriers after first half goals from Laurent Depoitre and Aaron Mooy helped Huddersfield hold on to a famous 2–1 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.

A 3–0 loss to fellow German manager Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield concluded October.

Heavy Defeats among strong performances

A Rajiv van La Parra wonder goal, which was voted as Huddersfield Town’s goal of the season, allowed the Yorkshire side to secure a 1–0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Stand out defender Christopher Schindler’s red card early in the second half of the match against the Baggies certainly put the Terrier’s defence to the test, but they held firm.

A disappoint 4–0 against 10-man Bournemouth followed, before the Terriers faced the runaway champions in Manchester City.

The Terriers took the lead in first half injury time, before Sergio Agüero equalised from the penalty spot early in the second half.

Wagner’s side thought they were holding on for an incredible point, before Raheem Sterling ensured all three points were heading back over the other side of the Pennines with a late winner.

A 5–0 hammering from Arsenal swiftly followed after three goals in five second half minutes condemned the Terriers to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Strong Christmas Period

Two wins, and three draws out of seven December games meant Huddersfield finished the year in 15th place.

A 2–0 defeat in Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge at Everton was followed by another Mounié brace in a 2–0 victory against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Town then hosted defending champions Chelsea, where they fell to a 3–1 defeat.

Huddersfield hadn’t picked up a single away point or scored a single away goal since the first day of the season until they faced Watford at Vicarage Road.

That all changed during their 4–1 thrashing of the Hornets, thanks to goals from Elias Kachunga, Laurent Depoitre and an Aaron Mooy brace.

Two 1-1 draws against Southampton and Stoke followed before Town ended 2017 with a 0–0 draw against Burnley.

January Signings but Poor Results

AS Monoco defender Terence Kongolo joined on loan until the end of the season as well as Alex Pritchard from Norwich City on a permanent deal during the January transfer window, but an instant impact wasn’t the case.

Huddersfield suffered five consecutive defeats after the run of the year – against Leicester City, West Ham, Stoke, Liverpool and Manchester United to leave them in the relegation zone for the first, and only, time this season.

Back to back victories

Top of the form table Cherries came to face bottom of the form table Terriers in mid – February, and with the latter sitting in the relegation zone, this was seen as a ‘must win’ game for Wagner’s side.

…And, they certainly delivered, a 4-1 hammering allowed them to move up to 16th place and condemn Eddie Howe’s side to a first defeat since 23rd December.

The Hawthorns was Huddersfield’s next destination on their travels as they prepared to face the struggling Baggies, who were already seen to be relegated.

A 2-1 victory for Wagner’s side allowed them to secure back to back victories for the first time since August, and they certainly came at a crucial time of the season after a difficult run of results.

Miserable March

A first trip back to Wembley since their famous promotion saw the Terrier’s lose 2–0 to Spurs, ahead of two home games against fellow strugglers Swansea and Palace which were seen as crucial relegation battle fixtures.

A 0–0 draw against Swansea was not considered the best result since the Swans played with 10 men for 80 minutes, but a 2- 0 defeat to the Eagles the following week certainly made the draw even worse, as Huddersfield began to slide back down the table.

A 1 – 0 defeat at St. James’ Park to the Magpies followed to end a miserable March for the Terriers.

Ince scores the 'most important goal of the season' in April

An unusual 1–1 against the Seagulls at the Amex Stadium started April, after a misplaced Shane Duffy back pass allowed the Terriers to quickly equalise and collect only their second point of the season from a losing position.

Another “must win” home game followed against Watford – a game which seemed to be heading for a stalemate before substitute Tom Ince pounced on Zanka’s sublime pass in second half injury time to send the John Smith’s Stadium into jubilant celebrations, as survival seemed more likely now, especially with their ‘difficult’ final fixtures.

A 2–0 defeat to Everton capped off April, with the Terriers heading into the final three games of the season just three points above the relegation zone.

Magnificent May ended super season

Huddersfield travelled to the Etihad on Trophy Day, but before City could celebrate their title celebrations they had to face a defensive Huddersfield side.

Town became the only team in the Premier League this season to prevent the free-scoring Citizens from scoring on their home turf, as they secured a vital point in a 0–0 draw.

After Southampton’s win against Swansea on the Tuesday night, Huddersfield knew they only needed one point at Stamford Bridge on the Wednesday night to secure their top-flight survival.

Bring on the performance of the season from Wagner’s Terriers – an early second-half blunder from Blues’ keeper Willy Caballero allowed Depoitre to open the scoring, before an unlucky Marcus Alonso equaliser.

Huddersfield had to hold on for around half an hour to secure that needed point, and that is exactly what they did.

A ‘save of the season’ contender from Jonas Lössl, among incredible defending from all ten outfield players allowed the Terriers to have a famous night in London, with the travelling supporters in fine voice as they celebrated with everyone on the pitch.

As Arsene Wenger travelled to the John Smith’s Stadium for his final game in charge of Arsenal after 22 years in charge, the Huddersfield fans enjoyed a day of celebrating survival as over 20,000 continuously sang and partied, despite the 1–0 defeat.

A lap of honour from everyone involved with the Club – from the players to all the backroom staff – allowed them to thank the fans for their incredible support over the season, and they will be hoping that togetherness, unity and ‘Terrier Spirit’ continues as they head into next season’s campaign.