Why Huddersfield Town are destined for the dreaded drop this season
Little ol' Huddersfield Town are having the time of their lives. The Terriers came up, despite being tipped for immediate relegation, with promise aplenty. Throughout a stellar twelve months, there were brilliant highs, terrible lows, even a shock or two. Just ask Manchester United. Come season's end, the Yorkshire side sealed their place in the Premier League for a second term.
David Wagner takes credit, rightly so. His coaching staff deserve a mention, too. Their squad wasn't stacked with household names, nor prima donnas. Instead, they relied heavily on good old-fashioned hard work. They played as a team. In an ever-changing Premier League, things will be even tougher for Huddersfield this time around.
Their grit, determination and ethics can only take them so far. Dean Hoyle has delved deep into the pockets this time around. My concern comes within the players acquired. I'd have loved to see Town opt for the proven Premier League player to ensure their safety as they gradually build. Instead, a risk has been taken. Huddersfield have looked overseas, raiding AS Monaco for Terence Kongolo and Adama Diakhaby. Who knows how these guys will fare in the Premier League? At the very least, it'll take them time to get up to speed.
Erik Durm from Borussia Dortmund is another acquisition. This one on a free transfer. The German enters the season struggling for fitness and low on confidence. Then you have Ramadan Sobhi, signed from Stoke City. It's a gamble. He struggled to establish himself with The Potters. What's to say it's going to be different this time around?
I look around the league. Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers have made some stunning signings that look excellent value for money. Huddersfield may not have the same financial clout. I just wish they'd gone about it somewhat differently.
Believe me when I say that newly-promoted teams have an early advantage during the season's start. Opposing teams are heading into a relative unknown. Nobody knew what to expect from Huddersfield Town in the top-flight. They left Jose Mourinho's pants down last September. The likelihood of that happening again has been massively reduced. Teams have now familiarised themselves. It's all about adapting and adjusting. I don't think The Terriers will do anything differently this time around. Heck, why should they?
The aforementioned Wolves and Fulham are two excellent sides. Both are expected to finish higher than Huddersfield. I don't think Southampton will play anywhere near as badly this time around, while Watford made a brilliant start with a super victory on the opening day. The only team who are below Wagner's men in the relegation battle is Cardiff City. Even then, I don't think the Bluebirds will be convincingly beaten when the two sides meet.
Chelsea are a class above. We already knew that. Huddersfield's passion, commitment and roar from the crowd made these kinds of fixtures close last season. Nobody is expecting them to go out and win, but at least make it competitive. It doesn't get any easier next time out, either. A trip to Manchester to take on the champions could become a cricket score even without the injured Kevin de Bruyne. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it could well be a long twelve months for a side who had an opportunity to build and become a Premier League mainstay.
Not that Huddersfield fans will care, they're still loving life. So they should be!