Can Huddersfield cause an early EPL shock?

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Pep Guardiola will have high expectations for his third season in Manchester (photo credit: Don MacGregor, Prost International).

Can Huddersfield cause an early EPL shock?

by Ryan Conway

Last season Huddersfield Town were well deserving of the point they obtained when they drew 0-0 with Champions Manchester City in May. While the result meant relatively little in the context of things, that is certainly not the case this time.

Pep Guardiola’s men won nine of their opening ten games last campaign cementing the building blocks of what would become a historic season. Anybody who knows a Guardiola team, or has watched the recently released All or Nothing, will know that the former Barcelona manager is always looking to improve on his previous season. The modus operandi will be no different for the 2018/19 league year.

Huddersfield were dealt a 3-0 home defeat on the opening weekend against Chelsea, while that clash and this weekend’s game against the holders will be seen by many as a ‘free hit’, David Wagner’s men will no doubt want to get out of Manchester with at least a point.

Their first encounter last term provided a small shock to the system as the Terriers took the lead on the stroke of half time via a Nicolas Otamendi own goal. Sergio Aguero levelled things with a penalty and it was left to Raheem Sterling to score a rather fortuitous winner.

Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out for at least three months following a knee injury sustained in training. While the loss of the creative Belgian is a blow, Guardiola has more than capable stand-ins in the shape of Bernardo Silva, who lashed home the second goal of their convincing 2-0 opening day victory over Arsenal, or the newly signed Riyad Mahrez. Perhaps David Silva may be pushed further forward into the role he occupied before settling into a deeper position.

The Catalan manager acknowledged the loss of one of his star players during his pre-game media briefing.

“He will be out for two and a half to three months. Hopefully he can do as much as possible in that time so when he is back he can help us again. It will be a big miss. Last season, Kevin was outstanding.”

Wagner acknowledged the size of the task ahead of him during his pre-match press conference, noting;

“There is not one secret. A lot of things have to come together,” Said the American boss, “If it was so easy to tell one secret and then you are successful then everyone would do it. But that is not the truth.”

Last season the West Yorkshire outfit faced a gauntlet to stay in the Premier League with Arsenal, Chelsea and City their final three games. They bravely snatched two points which was enough to maintain their top flight stay for at least this season.

Wagner knows his side must have that same courage as in May.

“We have to be at our best. We have to be brave as well and really trust in our abilities, which we have, and our skills.”

The 46-year-old clearly has great faith in his side’s ability to upset the odds.

In the first half against Chelsea, Huddersfield created arguably the best clear-cut chance but ultimately their lack of a killer instinct caught up with them. Chances will be at a premium on Sunday and if his side are presented with one them must seize upon it.

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