Eye on the Opposition: Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield Town (12/08/2017)

Written by Jack Pierce


De Boer Maidstone


... and off we go again. Welcome back, one and all.

As the fixture computer shuddered itself into action in mid-June, I had a suspicion we'd be welcoming one of the promoted sides to Selhurst on the opening day. Don't know why; just a hunch I suppose.

It wasn't going to be Brighton, for obvious reasons, and it was always a possibility that Newcastle would end up at home in a fixture potentially suited for TV.

That left the play off winners, Huddersfield Town, and as if by magic, it's they who make the trip the SE25 in what we hope will be August sunshine.

David Wagner and his side were the fairy tale of The Championship last season. Nobody, not even the most ardent Terrier, tipped them for promotion despite their impressive manager entering his first full season with the club. However, Huddersfield were in and around the promotion race for most of the season and gave Newcastle and Brighton a few scares along the way. That said, by the time the play offs came around, Wagner's side weren't deemed favourites by many to even make it through their semi final with Yorkshire rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, let alone be celebrating on the Wembley turf on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Two penalty shoot out victories against Wednesday and Reading, in the final, later and Huddersfield's journey to the top flight was complete. Christopher Schindler's composed winning penalty sent the club's faithful into football heaven and you'd be hard pushed to not smile at the sight of national treasure, Patrick Stewart, dancing in the VIP seats as he watched his beloved club reach the top flight for the first time in more than a generation.

Such delirium would've been quickly forgotten as the club prepared itself for their first tilt at the Premier League. Wagner and club owner, Dean Hoyle, quickly got to business and new arrivals have been aplenty. A combination of players scouted from the continent and a few of the more impressive performers from the English second tier, including for Palace loanee, Tom Ince, make up the new cohort. It remains to be seen whether the new blood will be enough to steer the side to safety but, in David Wagner, they have a man that many of the club's supporters believe will impress this season and in doing so, will give the club a fighting chance of staying up. Wagner reportedly turned down the advances of Bayer Leverkusen who were apparently keen to offer Wagner one of the more prestigious managerial jobs in Germany. Sounds odd but at this moment in time, it's fair to argue that West Yorkshire is better for his career prospects right now in comparison to the eastern banks of the Rhine.

There's no doubting that The Terriers are going to be up against it this season and survival, however it came, would be something to shout from the rooftops about come next May. They will struggle at times and given they ended last season's league season with a negative goal difference, in spite of finishing 5th, it’s clear that tightening up defensively is a must if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation. Defensive signings have been bought in and time will tell if they are the quality to improve

I don’t much fancy their chances of staying up but that certainly isn’t to say that they won’t begin the campaign with a win. After all, we are quite a generous lot. Remember newly promoted Luton at home on a sunny August Saturday in 2005?

Key Players

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Aaron Mooy

Anyone who saw Huddersfield last season couldn't have not been impressed by their busy and clever central midfielder. Then on loan from Manchester City, Mooy is now all Huddersfield's having spent £10 million on the Aussie.

He was vital to their success last term and if they're to have any chance in staying up, Mooy will have to acclimatise to a new league very quickly.

Given time to dictate the game, he will so it's important that Palace limit passes into him and his time on the ball.

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Mathias Jorgensen

Signed from FC Copenhagen, Jorgensen has impressed for his former club for a number of seasons. Most notably, he looked at home in last season's Champions League when Copenhagen far from embarrassed themselves.

Much like Thomas Delaney, a former teammate whose now playing for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, Jorgensen's talents have now perhaps exceeded the rather modest challenge that the Danish Superliga can offer so the offer of a move abroad has come about at just the perfect time for him.

Aged 27 and with 11 international caps to the Dane’s name, the £2 million fee spent to bring Jorgensen to Huddersfield could look good value if he settles quickly. That said, his introduction to Premier League football comes with a bang as he'll most certainly have his hands full with our number 17.

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Steve Mounie

Currently The Terriers' record signing, Mounie has arrived from Ligue 1's Montpellier swapping the south of France for West Yorkshire.
Mounie scored 14 league goals last season and David Wagner will be hoping he can return a similar amount this season. If he does, Mounie is likely to remain the Premier League player come the end of the season, regardless of whether Huddersfield manager to stay up or not.

Excellent in the air and happy to bring others into play, Mounie has the facets to be a success in this league and if he hits the ground running, the £12 million fee could well look a snip.