Huddersfield powerless to resist Manchester City


The post David Wagner era started in much the same way as many games under the former Huddersfield Town boss had gone; a spirited performance against superior opposition, but finally ending in defeat. This time they fell 3-0 to Manchester City at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Mark Hudson made six changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Cardiff City and even changed shape from Wagner’s much preferred 4-2-3-1 to a 4-5-1.

The contest featured not only two teams at opposite ends of the table, but their goal scoring prowess was equally polarising. City came into the game with 99 goals in all competitions from 34 matches, the most in England. Meanwhile, Huddersfield sat bottom of that same goal-scoring table with a feeble 13 goals scored in all competitions.

City took their tally to 100 goals for the season on 17 minutes when Danilo took aim for 25-yards and his shot took a wicked deflection before beating Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal. The Brazilian full-back was afforded too much time, with Jason Puncheon failing to close down the former Real Madrid man.

The goal had been coming, and perhaps should have come five minutes earlier when Raheem Sterling was hacked down in the box by Terence Kongolo. Referee Andre Marriner waved away the furious protests of the England winger, and he had a right to feel aggrieved on further inspection as the Town defender had clumsily taken him down.

You would have been forgiven for thinking the gulf in class would have seen the hosts batten down the hatches and prepare for an onslaught. Far from it. A lethargic City side  coupled with plucky Terriers determination kept the visiting back line on their toes for spells in the first half.

Elias Kachunga, Chris Lowe and Kongolo all had half chances that required the visitor’s full attention to deal with, but their finishing provided all the evidence needed as to why they are the lowest scoring team in the football league.

Eight minutes into the second half and City doubled their lead. Leroy Sane collected a Kevin De Bruyne pass and clipped in a delightful ball to Sterling, who started the move, and the England international charged in with a diving header to get his 12th goal of the season. There was a hint of offside when Sane received the pass but the linesman’s flag stayed by his side.

City went through the gears and it was clear that Pep Guardiola sent a message to his team at half-time after the Catalan boss looked less than impressed with his team’s first half display.

Two minutes later Sane scored from close range, slipping the ball under Lossl to make it 3-0 and kill the game off with 35 minutes still to play.

Guardiola was able to take off one of his key cogs in Fernandinho with the game effectively over as a contest. The final two minutes fell flat, the visitors content to nurse home their victory while the hosts seemed equally content to accept their fate and not have more goals put past them.

Substitute Steve Mounie had a driving run at Kyle Walker before cutting inside and lashing a shot wide. Minutes later he met an Alex Pritchard cross with a towering header but Ederson dealt with it comfortably.

With the final kick of the game Mounie found himself three yards from goal after Fabian Delph deflected a pass into his path but the forward fired his shot well wide. That would be as close as the home side got in the second half.

Guardiola will be happy to cut the gap on Liverpool to four points, and they could reduce it further still before Liverpool play next when City take on Newcastle on January 29 before the Reds square off against Leicester a day after.

Huddersfield’s task gets no easier. A home game with Everton is followed up with a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. After that they square off against a dangerous Arsenal side. Their fate could be all but confirmed after that gauntlet.



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