Huddersfield Town are less than a week away from their opening 2018/19 Premier League fixture against Chelsea at the John Smith’s Stadium, and David Wagner’s side have been preparing for the last few weeks.
With pre-season coming to a close, there are a number of things Wagner can take from these past few weeks and into the new campaign.
Pre-season minutes have been extremely valuable
In each of Town’s nine pre-season games, Wagner has often fielded two different starting XIs in order to build up the match fitness of every single squad payer, rather than just the fitness of his ‘expected’ matchday squad.
Also, with having so many games to play, Wagner has been able to field different combinations of players in order to build up new partnerships and help the new signings learn how their teammates play.
However, the head coach has also been extremely mindful of giving players the required minutes, knowing full well that it is important for as many players as possible to play at least one full 90 minutes before the start of the season.
Town can comfortably switch formation
As seen in their 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the final game of pre-season Huddersfield can play either their typical 4-2-3-1 formation or they can switch to a 5-3-2.
Either way, Town showed attacking threat, but also defensive stability – creating plenty of chances, whilst also minimising their oppositions attacks.
It is probably expected that they will remain with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, but after having success at the end of last season against Manchester City and Chelsea playing in a 5-3-2, it certainly wouldn’t surprise fans if they were to adopt that approach on a more regular basis.
Squad depth has certainly been added this transfer window
Huddersfield often looked light of strong substitutes last season, and rarely had someone come off the bench and make an impact.
However, with six new signings, and more still possible before the end of the transfer window, Wagner has certainly bolstered his squad and added competition in many areas on the pitch.
This could prove extremely vital this season if they are to defy the odds once again and avoid the drop back to the Championship in the so-called ‘harder second season’.
No.1 Goalkeeper Lössl has genuine competition
‘Keeper Jonas Lössl was an ever-present for the Terriers last season and played a vital role in keeping them up.
However, the Dane didn’t really have much competition from his fellow shot stoppers – youngster Joel Coleman and ex-England international Robert Green, and was always guaranteed to be within the starting XI.
After Green was released at the end of his contract, Wagner decided to add to his goalkeepers with the signing of free agent Ben Hamer from Leicester City– and the 30-year-old has certainly given Wagner something to think about.
After Lössl’s involvement in the World Cup, and therefore his extended summer break, Hamer has had the chance to show the head coach what he is capable of, and he certainly looks promising.
Whoever starts between the sticks against Chelsea, will surely hope to put in an impressive performance to try and establish themselves as the first-choice keeper – as both know they have good competition.
High crosses into the box will be key to scoring goals
Goals were hard to come by for Huddersfield last term, as they failed to score in 21 of their 38 Premier League fixtures and finished the season with a total goal tally of just 28.
However, from looking at pre-season, the Terriers seemed to have been trying to improve in front of goal – particularly from high crosses.
Striker Steve Mounié has scored almost three identical headed goals across three pre-season games, all of which have come from crosses down the left-hand side.
With both Mounié and Laurent Depoitre, Town pose a huge aerial threat, and so if their wingers or wing-backs (depending on the formation used) can continue these impressive crosses, then the Terriers have a much higher chance of scoring more goals.