Match Focus: Huddersfield Town

Friday 16th August, 7:45 PM @ John Smith’s Stadium

Our ‘Focus’ turns to Friday Night Football with Fulham’s trip to Huddersfield tonight in front of the Sky cameras. Two of last seasons Premier League dropouts go head-to-head as both managers try to get a foothold on their sides sheepish starts to life back in the Championship. The Terriers are yet to win this season and even lost to Lincoln City on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup, whilst the Whites made up for opening day failings last time out in Yorkshire with a 2-0 victory over Blackburn. All to play for…

Head-To-Head Stats

  • 68 meetings in all competitions; both clubs have won 26 with 16 draws.
  • Incredibly, only one goal separates the clubs in those 68 meetings, Fulham have scored 94, Huddersfield 93.
  • Fulham have won 5 of the last 8 meetings.
  • In the 11 matches during the new millennium, Fulham have scored 25, conceded 6 and lost just once.
  • The past two seasons when the clubs have been in the English top-flight together have resulted in Deja vu. Both teams have won the home fixtures 1-0 and the pair were relegated as the bottom two on both occasions (1951/52 and 2018/19).
  • Last seasons defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium was the first time Fulham have lost to the Terriers since Ivan Cavaleiro was born almost 26 years ago.

Last 8 Meetings

  • 29/12/18 – Fulham 1-0 Hudds
  • 05/11/18 – Hudds 1-0 Fulham
  • 22/04/17 – Hudds 1-4 Fulham
  • 29/10/16 – Fulham 5-0 Hudds
  • 16/01/16 – Hudds 1-1 Fulham
  • 22/08/15 – Fulham 1-1 Hudds
  • 21/03/15 – Hudds 0-2 Fulham
  • 08/11/14 – Fulham 3-1 Hudds

Players in Common

Robert Wilson

Robert was not only a big part of one of Fulham FC’s most iconic teams under Malcolm MacDonald, he is also a Fulham fan through and through witnessing the highs and lows throughout. If you missed it, check out our Q&A with Robert Wilson for an insight into his time with the Whites.

Plus – Gary Barnett, Pat Beasley, Danny Cadamarteri, James Husband, Mark Hudson, Scott Malone, Brian Mcdermott, Oliver Norwood, Jazz Richards, and Dale Tempest.

Huddersfield Stats

  • They have only won twice at home in the past 12 months and just 3 times including away games.
  • This included a double over Wolves last season and the 1-0 against us last November.
  • They have kept just 2 home clean sheets and 5 overall since May 2018.
  • The Terriers have only scored 11 goals at home since the start of the 2018/19 season.
  • Huddersfield conceded 31 goals at home in 2018/19 (a goal every 55 minutes).
  • Huddersfield only went in at half-time in the lead at home twice since 2018/19 began.
  • 60% (6) of their goals at home came in the second half last season.
  • They have only scored first at home 26% of the time in the past year.
  • Fulham are most likely to score towards the end of the first half based on when Huddersfield conceded most often last season.

Player Info

  • Centre-back Christopher Schindler played 37 of their 38 Premier League games last season making 1.9 interceptions, 1.6 tackles and 3.6 clearances per game.
  • Striker Karlan Grant was brought in last January in preparation for a return to the Championship. He scored 4 of the clubs 22 Premier League goals during this short spell.
  • Versatile defender Kongolo is also a mainstay in their defence with 2.3 tackles per game
    last season.
  • Aaron Mooy has been their main man for the last few seasons but has gone out on loan to Brighton.
  • Other players they have lost this summer include Goalkeeper Jonnas Lossl, Phillip Billing, Danny Williams, Chris Lowe, Laurent Depoitre, Erik Durm and Tommy Smith.
  • New signings include centre-backs Tommy Elphick from Villa and Trevoh Chalobah on loan from Chelsea, Polish ‘keeper Kamil Grabara on loan from Liverpool and they’ve made the signing of Isaac Mbenza permanent.
  • In addition, they have also signed a lot of players from lower leagues for academy and first-team purposes.

Battle to Watch

Knockaert vs Kongolo: After a comfortable win against Blackburn on Saturday, there were a decent amount of positives to take, with the new players coming into the team looking as though they’ll add significant quality this year. While Harry Arter’s performance in the centre of midfield was the standout, Antony Knockaert on the right-wing looked like a potentially very exciting player, combining attacking output and excitement with a real desire to do his defensive work. Although Huddersfield have faltered so far this season in their league performances against Derby and QPR, and a shock defeat to Lincoln in the League Cup on Tuesday night, there are evidently some quality Championship players in their side. If Knockaert can gain the upper hand on Terence Kongolo – once touted as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe while at Feyenoord – then our chances of victory will increase dramatically.

Opposition View (@takesthatchance)

What are your expectations for the season now that the window has closed?

My Expectations seem to be decreasing game on game and I only started with expectations of us finishing 12th! Being brutally honest, I think that’s 4 windows in a row where we’ve failed to address the fundamental requirements of what the team needed. Loaning out Aaron Mooy was probably necessary for both parties but that lateness of it with no replacement brought in (Chalobah seems more of a replacement for Billing who was sold earlier) caused a bit of hurt in all truth.

What did you make of the Paddy Power kit stunt?

There was an understandable split amongst us on the podcast. This has been classic Paddy Power disruptive marketing and a serious step change from the Huddersfield Town of the last 10 years who used kit launches for charities such as The Town Foundation, Help for Heroes, McMillan and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. In the end, this will probably go down as the most memorable kit launch we’ve ever done in terms of notoriety. What the benefit to Paddy Power has been is very clear, it’s been a huge success for them and for the type of brand that they are. What form of light this shines on Huddersfield Town will probably only reveal itself in the fullness of time, but with a logo-free shirt, thousands of pounds being made available for local charities via auctioning the mock Paddy Power shirts and a shirt amnesty completed at the first home game, it’s been a good start and could be a promising partnership. Albeit one that will always be scrutinised due to issues surrounding gambling and Paddy Power’s style of humour.

Are you a fan of Friday night fixtures?

As someone who likes to take his 1-year-old to the game, not really. Having said that, The Premier League has its own popular scheduled slots such as Super Sunday and Monday Night Football. The Championship deserves the airtime and needs its own scheduled slot where people know there will always be a game available on TV. If that’s Friday night then so be it, but I would then take issue with EPL games on Friday nights eating into that like last week.

Top 6 and bottom 3 predictions?

WBA*, Fulham*, Brentford, Leeds, Cardiff, Stoke. With the players you have Fulham should be automatically promoted. It’s all down to whether Scott Parker is any good as a manager or whether he’s like Darren Moore last year at WBA who got the job through sentimental reasoning and wasn’t quite the man to finish the job. From the outside looking in it does seem brave to sign that quality of player and have such an unknown quantity running them and dealing with the pressures of expectancy that will increase through the season.

Predicting the bottom 3 is never much fun and usually causes some form of indignation from other fans :-D. For this, I tend to look at clubs with struggles and upheaval at boardroom level. Before the season started, I went for Charlton, Hull and QPR. However, all 3 could make me look daft by the end of the season. QPR certainly did on opening day.

How do you see the game planning out?

After effectively a 7-month preseason we’d hoped that Jan Siewert would have us hitting the ground running. We haven’t and in truth looked pretty woeful in large parts of the first 3 games. There is now huge pressure on Jan Siewert to get something from the game against Fulham as opinion of him is at an all-time low. The problem is that after 7 months I still don’t see any clear form of pattern, identity or style emerging. The players look completely lost when we’ve got the ball and I don’t see that changing for Friday. Should Fulham be up for this and get at us then I don’t see anything but an away win. Should Fulham not be at it like last season then we have a chance, albeit a slim one.

Huddersfield 0 – 2 Fulham.

Predicted Lineup

(4-3-3) Grabara; Hadergjonaj, Elphick, Schindler, Kongolo; Hogg, Bacuna, O’Brien; Diakhaby, Pritchard, Grant.

Thanks to Matt from the Huddersfield fans podcast ‘And he takes that chance’ for answering our questions.

Alex’s View (@AHillier21)

Coming off the back of that home win last Saturday there has been a degree of positivity in the last week that hasn’t been too familiar over the previous year. While there is no need to get carried away by a game in which our opposition rarely threatened, there are certainly positives to take. The greater solidity in defence in midfield thanks to the return of Ream and a debut for Arter was very encouraging and Knockaert immediately gives us far more attacking threat than any of Kamara, Ayite or Kebano. Huddersfield, by contrast, have had a poor start to the season in the three games across league and cup. Despite that, they have some quality players like Karlan Grant that can hurt our defence which looked better at the weekend but still bears the scars of last season. The stat that everyone will have seen is that Huddersfield haven’t won a game since February and having been charitable in similar situations in the past, Sunderland away in 17/18 for example, it’s pretty reasonable to fear we’ll be the ones to help them out on Friday night. If Scott Parker can work on the issues that have lead to poor performances away from home for a while now, maybe we can emerge from Friday night with a win that would set us up well after our first three games. 

Huddersfield 1 – 1 Fulham.

Predicted Lineup