Saturday, 19 January 2019

Reaction from managerless Terriers?

Does the fact that our hosts, tomorrow afternoon, have mutually parted waves with their respected manager put a different emphasis on the game? Well…that can often be the case as we face a side with a Caretaker Manager in charge and, let’s be honest, any change for a side struggling so horribly as Huddersfield Town are can’t do any harm. 


So, I’d say yeah – some fans, despite they perilous position, might have felt a little sad at the departure of their German boss but by the time we reach 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon, I’m sure the home fans will feel a sense ofreset an’ go againand will turn the John Smith's Stadium into a noise-filled, scarf-wielding cauldron.


As for the players, we’ll have to wait ‘n’ see if-them-seeing David Wagner leave and Mark Hudson take temporary charge will have had any positive effect on them. And, of course, it’s up to OUR manager & players to deal with that and use our own motivations to good effect.

v Huddersfield Town

John Smith's Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome:
(Number correct from starting line-up in the last game: 9/11).

Fluid 4-5-1 / 4-3-3:



____________D. Silva________B. Silva_____________





Subs: Muric, Delph, Otamendi, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Aguero.

For once, I’m gonna save myself a little bit of a starting 11 write-up here and simply say instead that, for some reason, I’ve got the feeling that our Manager will field the same side who faced Wolves last Monday night. I might be wrong of course…

As for the bench, Aro is the reserve stopper with Fabian & Nicholas providing cover-options in central defence, left-wing back and defensive midfield. Ilkay gets a seat on the side too along with Kevin, I’m guessing…and think what you like about whether he’s being managed carefully back to fitness ahead of fixtures in all 4 competitions or whether there HAS been a little spat following his substitution the other week and Pep is just giving ‘the ginger one’ a little reminder of just who is in charge. Riyad & Sergio provide wing & striker options from ‘the 7’.

Notable absences:

-       Claudio Bravo – Continuing his rehab following serious injury.
-       Benjamin Mendy – Has now had 4 or 5 training sessions with the first team on his way back to fitness and following his second, lengthy spell out...but won’t be ready for this game.
-       Vincent Kompany – Still a slight doubt following a niggle, I believe, and unlikely to be risked.
-       Oleksandr Zinchenko – Not selected.
-       Phil Foden – Not selected.

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?


Result? I have no doubt that the men in light blue & white stripes will give their all in this game…and those fans who have watched them week in & week out might more than suggest that they’ve been doing that most of the season, just with very little return.

I don’t think “effort” has ever been an issue with Huddersfield Town players in the last 3 seasons or so and, certainly against us, they’ve raised their game and give us a flippin’ good’n! The question is, as I’ve already asked, will they raise it even MORE following recent events?

I’m sure they will and despite their truly AFWUL goal-scoring record this season they might even nick a goal, possibly from a set piece. And, I have to remind myself, they ran us close at their ground with a Raheem Sterling winner coming just 6 minutes from ‘the 90’ AND held us to a 0-0’er at our place in May 2018, albeit in a game 3 from the end of a season where we finished 19-points clear of 2nd place.

But I would suggest that you can’t fix, in less than a week, a league record that reads:

P22 W2 D5 L15 - F13 A37.

They’ll give us fight, for sure, and it might even get a little feisty, as it did in the 96th minute in the same fixture last season (hope not of course). But it was heartening to actually hear Guardiola issue the same warnings in his pre-match press conference following those difficult encounters last season and I’m damn sure he won’t allow his players to give anything less than 100% tomorrow.

I think there’s definitely been ‘an interesting edge’ added to this fixture but I do think it’s one we’ll come away from with 3 points, as well as a few bruises.

Last season’s, corresponding pre-match prediction and result…
Prediction: Win
Result: Win

Expected weather conditions during the game: Quite simply just grey clouds, dry and chilly at 4 to 5C.

Transfer rumours?

Well, first of all and by his standards, Pep was practically “open” when asked AGAIN yesterday if we were looking to strengthen any areas of the team. He admitted that we are looking at 3 or 4 optional players to approach for the defensive midfield department and recognised the need for competition at left-wing back; someone with specialist experience in that position and not a ‘stand in’.

Of course, he stopped well short of suggesting that any targets would be coming in by the end of January but here are just a few names who have been linked with the Blues in recent days & weeks:

Zack Steffen – Goalkeeper
Gavin Bazunu – Goalkeeper (signed pre-contract / due to arrive soon...)
Ben Chilwell – Left-back
Eder Militao – Centre defender
Ko Itakura – Central defender / Defensive midfielder (signed & loaned for 18 mths)
Declan Rice – Central Defender / Defensive midfielder
Frenkie De Jong – Defensive midfielder
Tanguy Ndombele – Defensive midfielder
Ante Palaversa – Defensive midfielder
Thomas Partey - Defensive midfielder
Christian Eriksen – Attacking / Creative midfielder
Isco (AGAIN!) – Attacking / Creative midfielder
Ivan Angulo – Midfielder / Winger
Everton Soares – Left winger / Forward
Paulo Dybala – Attacking midfielder / Forward / Striker

As Is say, this is only a few; there have been more linked so feel free to take your pick of who from that list, if any, is likely to join us either in January or the summer…

Hyperlinks being completed…