We have another fairytale story in the Premier League.
[ LIVE: Stream Premier League live ]
Huddersfield Town were promoted to the PL for the first time in club history via the lottery of the Championship playoffs as they beat Reading on penalty kicks at Wembley in May. It is the first time in 45 years that they’ve been in the top-tier of English soccer.
Managed by German-American David Wagner, the Terriers wheeled and dealed in the transfer market last season to build a team full of cast offs from some of the PL’s big boys and clubs across Germany. It worked a treat as they fostered a strong sense of togetherness with their fans and dug deep at the end of the season to win the playoffs. Bankrolled by local businessman Dean Hoyle, Huddersfield are set to become the new minnows of the PL everyone adores: think, a northern English version of Bournemouth.
[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ]
Huddersfield have been champions of England in the past, winning the title for three consecutive seasons from 1923-24, while they also won the FA Cup in 1922. Their main rivals are Leeds United and Bradford City, but it’s now Huddersfield who are Yorkshire’s lone representatives in the PL.
Best, worst case scenario: Staying up is the best case scenario and they just don’t want to ‘do a Derby’ and finish rock bottom of the table.
Best possible XI is…
—– Lossl —–
—- Smith —- Heffele —- Schindler —- Lowe —-
—- Ince —- Williams —- Mooy —- Palmer —– Kachunga —-
—– Mounie —–
Transfers in: Steve Mounie ($15 million, Montpellier), Tom Ince ($11.2 million, Derby County), Aaron Mooy ($10.5 million, Manchester City), Laurent Depoitre ($4.6 million, FC Porto), Scott Malone ($6.6 million, Fulham), Mathias Jorgensen ($4.6 million, Copenhagen), Danny Williams (Free, Reading), Elias Kachunga ($1.4 million, Ingolstadt), Jonas Lossl (Loan, Mainz 05), Kasey Palmer (Loan, Chelsea)
Transfers out: Kyle Dempsey ($992,000, Fleetwood Town)
– 4th in the Championship (promoted to PL after winning playoffs)
– FA Cup 5th round
– EFL Cup 1st round
Star player: Steve Mounie is Huddersfield’s record signing and the Benin striker has already been in fine form in preseason. His pace and power will provide the Terries with an outlet and with Kachunga, Mooy, Ince and Palmer underneath him, expect Mounie to get plenty of chances to score. Ince is another who has excelled in preseason and will be looking to finally make his mark in the PL after several stellar seasons in the second tier.
Coaches’ Corner: German-American coach David Wagner is as charismatic as they come and the man who spent most of his coaching career working under Jurgen Klopp at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund has now built something really special on his own. Wagner’s team are like Klopp’s with plenty of high-pressing and pace in attack, but the Terriers are also capable of sitting back and soaking up pressure when they have to. After bringing in plenty of new faces early in the summer, the signs are good that Wagner can help Huddersfield achieve much more than just battling against relegation. Whatever happens this season, Wagner has a bright future.
PST predicts: Whatever way you want to slice this up, it will be a tough season for Huddersfield as most of their squad have yet to play in the PL. A strong togetherness and a lively home atmosphere will get them so far, but Wagner will everyone to play to their maximum to just stay out of the bottom three. Expect a season-long scrap, but it will be plenty of fun and I wouldn’t bet against Wagner keeping the Terriers up.