Huddersfield Town 2018/19 season preview: Premier League survival remains top priority

Huddersfield Town 2018/19 season preview: Premier League survival remains top priority

The Terriers are set to embark on their second Premier League campaign, where avoiding relegation must be the total focus.

Mollie Firth

Huddersfield Town are heading into their second Premier League season after defying the odds and avoiding an immediate return to the Championship in their maiden campaign.

And the Terriers are going to have to defy the odds once again if they are to remain a top-flight club, after already becoming one of the relegation favourites before they’ve even kicked a ball.

Premier League survival is again the priority.

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What happened last season?

Huddersfield Town certainly had an up and down season during 2017/18. They started the season well, but dips in form meant they started to drop near the relegation zone on a few occasions.

Town were unbeaten in their first three games before suffering their first Premier League defeat against West Ham United. The stand out result from the first half of the season was the 2-1 home victory over Manchester United after goals from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre shocked the Red Devils.

The West Yorkshire side were mid-table around Christmas time, but a poor start to 2018 meant the Terriers were in the relegation zone for the only time during the season at the beginning of February.

An improvement was definitely needed, and quick, and manager David Wagner certainly did that, with back to back wins against Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion meaning Huddersfield moved out of the bottom three at the first time of asking.

But the pundits were still writing them off, and after a few poor home results, they headed into their final three games against Manchester City (a), Chelsea (a) and Arsenal (h) needing points of the board to secure survival.

No one expected them to avoid the drop, but Huddersfield became the only team to stop the Citizens scoring at their home ground during the Premier League that season during their 0-0 draw.

This was followed by their 1-1 draw with the Blues at Stamford Bridge, which saw the Terriers survive with a game to spare.

They finished 16th on 37 points after 9 wins, 10 draws and 19 losses.

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Effect of the summer transfer window

Huddersfield have made eight first team signings so far this summer, as of the end of the July, with a couple more still possible before the deadline on 9th August.

Two of these signings were loan deals from last season which were made permanent – right back Florent Hadergjonaj and goalkeeper Jonas Lössl. ‘Flo’ provided great competition for skipper Tommy Smith last season, and showed his versatility by playing in midfield. After playing every minute in the Premier League, Lössl certainly proved why he has become Town’s permanent number one.

The club’s record transfer fee was once again broken with the signing of Terence Kongolo from AS Monaco. The Dutchman was on loan with the Terriers in the second half of last season, but a permanent deal never seemed an option. However, after impressive performances, Town were eager to capture the signature of the defender.

Huddersfield have also tried to bolster their attack with the signings of central midfielder Juninho Bacuna and wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Adama Diakhaby, with the latter looking particularly bright and pacey during the pre-season game against Lyon.

The Terrier’s final two signings are goalkeeper Ben Hamer from Leicester City, and World Cup winning fullback Erik Durm from Borussia Dortmund.

With regards to outgoings, Town have sold Tom Ince to Stoke City, Sean Scannell to Bradford and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis to Bristol Rovers. Ince will certainly be the most missed player from this list after making 33 appearances last season, but with new signings and the possibility of a new formation, his game time for the upcoming campaign could have been more limited.

Huddersfield have also loaned out ‘keeper Joel Coleman to Shrewsbury Town and attacking midfielder Jack Payne to Bradford.

Once again, more players are expected to be leaving the Yorkshire side before the end of the window.

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Pre-season: The good and the bad

Huddersfield kicked off their pre-season with an impressive 4-0 win over League 2 side Bury, after goals from Alex Pritchard, Rajiv van La Parra, Abdelhamid Sabiri and academy prospect Matt Daly.

However, the following four games were not as impressive, with the Terriers failing to net a single goal. These games included a 3-0 loss to Accrington Stanley, a 0-0 draw with Dynamo Dresden and two defeats in the Interwetten Essen Cup in Germany.

However, striker Steve Mounié got the Terriers back on the scoresheet during a 1-1 draw with SV Darmstadt 98.

This was followed by their only home game of preseason which saw Town face Champions League side Lyon at the John Smith’s Stadium. After going behind in the early minutes of the second half, Kongolo netted the equaliser in which was his first goal in blue and white stripes, before Depoitre topped a fine performance off with a brace in the final ten minutes, to leave the final score 3-1.

The Terriers are currently in Austria for a training camp, where they are preparing to face FC Bologna and RB Leipzig ahead fotheir first game of the season against Chelsea.

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Predicted finish for 2018/19

The Terriers are already one of the preseason favourites for relegation, which is somewhat down to the amount of money their rivals are spending on new signings – particularly West Ham and promoted sides Fulham and Wolves.

But Huddersfield will be hoping to avoid the ‘second season syndrome’ and be the underdogs once again by finishing above the relegation zone.

Providing they can provide a more attacking threat then last season, I think Huddersfield Town can finish between 12th and 15th this season and prove everyone wrong again.

However, survival must be their top priority, with staff, players and fans knowing staying up would be another incredible achievement.