Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town, who won the Championship Play Off final against Reading this past May, enter the wild world of the Fantasy Premier League with millions of people asking the same question: are there any players I'd have for my team? With just over two weeks until the curtain raiser, which sees The Terriers travel to Crystal Palace, we take a look at Huddersfield's potential FPL assets. All aboard.
If you're like us, wanting to know more about Huddersfield, we've taken some time to troll the web for some stats and figures surrounding the club that might shed some light on their viability as FPL options.
Huddersfield Town: Factfile
Stadium: John Smith's Stadium (24,500 capacity)
Current Manager: David Wagner
Captain: Tommy Smith (right-back)
Preferred Formation under Wagner: 4-2-3-1
Set Piece Takers:
- Penalties: Aaron Mooy, Elias Kachunga, Chris Löwe, Rajiv van La Parra
- Direct Free Kicks: Aaron Mooy, Nahki Wells, Chris Löwe
- Corners and Indirect Free Kicks: Aaron Mooy, Chris Löwe, Michael Hefele
Huddersfield's 2016/17 Championship Statistics
- Position: 5th
- Win/Draw/Loss Record: 25 wins, 6 draws, 15 losses
- Goals For/Against: 56 goals scored, 58 goals conceded (-2 overall goal difference, the only team from the top six to finish on negative goal difference)
Goals: 56 (34 home, 22 away)
Clean Sheets: 12 from 46 matches (6 home, 6 away)
2016/17 Top Scorers:
- Elias Kachunga (12 goals)
- Nahki Wells (10 goals)
- Tommy Smith (4 goals)
- Aaron Mooy (4 goals)
- Isaiah Brown (4 goals)
Team Discipline: 91 yellow cards, 4 red cards
- Johnathan Hogg (MID, £4.5m): 9 yellows
- Michael Hefele (DEF, £4.5m): 8 yellows
- Tommy Smith (DEF, £5.0m): 8 yellows
- Chris Löwe (DEF, £4.5m): 8 yellows
- Elias Kachunga (MID, £6.0m): 7 yellows
Huddersfield's 2017/18 Premier League Signings
Elias Kachunga [RM]: Ingolstadt 04 (£1,100,000)
Laurent Depoitre [CF]: Porto (£3,500,000)
Aaron Mooy [CM]: Manchester City (£8,000,000)
Tom Ince [LW]: Derby County (£8,500,000)
Danny Williams [CM]: Reading (Free)
Steve Mounié [CF]: Montpellier (£11,400,000)
Scott Malone [LB]: Fulham (£5,000,000)
Mathias Jørgensen [CB]: Copenhagen (£3,500,000)
Jonas Lössl [GK]: Mainz 05 (Loan)
Kasey Palmer [CAM]: Chelsea (Loan)
Huddersfield's Pre-Season Fixtures and Results
12/07/2017: Accrington Stanley 0-1 Huddersfield (Ince)
16/07/2017: Bury 1-3 Huddersfield (Mounie, Ince, Kachunga via the penalty spot)
18/07/2017: SV Sandhausen 3-2 Huddersfield (Ince, Mounie)
22/07/2017: Barnsley 0-1 Huddersfield (Mounie)
26/07/2017: Udinese (John Smith's Stadium)
01/08/2017: Stuttgart (Schwaz, Austria)
04/08/2017: Torino (Jenbach, Austria)
How do Huddersfield play their football?
Last season in the Premier League, when pundits, fans, and players, were all purring over Jurgen Klopp's form of the gegenpress, an attacking form of high press football from the front, Liverpool's midfield talent purred for much of the season. At Borussia Dortmund Klopp worked with David Wagner, the Huddersfield boss who achieved promotion in his full first season with the Terriers, who also adopts a similar style of the high-pressing football that earned Liverpool a lot of plaudits last season.
Huddersfield's favoured formation is a high pressing 4-2-3-1 formation, with unselfish running from the front four, and a tactical emphasis on quick passion and attacking transitions. Huddersfield are a team about working hard, having abundance in energy and having tactical discipline when defending. What this offsets sometimes is the personal glory of forward players, who are all expected to put in a shift off the ball, and is highlighted by the fact that last season's top goal scorer in the Championship was Elias Kachunga, with 12 goals in the league. This translates to FPL players that Huddersfield are going to be a compact unit, and might not offer a lot of goals going forward, but with the addition of Steve Mounie, a powerful, fast, and tall player, they my have their man to be a lone forward, to nip in with important goals in the Premier League.
With Huddersfield closing down the pitch, it allows for full backs Chris Lowe and Tommy Smith to have a big impact in matches, with both attacking full-backs bombing forward given every attack. This tactic will be imperative for FPL players considering both as options, especially given that Lowe is also in and around most of the set-pieces for Huddersfield.
There's another side to how Huddersfield can play though, and as a Newcastle fan writing this, I've been in the front-lines of experiencing a Huddersfield side sit deep without possession for large portions of a match. Huddersfield beat Newcastle 2-1 at St James's Park, spending most of the match absorbing pressure, then hitting forward with rapid speed on the break. This is how we expect Huddersfield to line up, especially against the top six sides.
Huddersfield's Premier League Fixture List
All of the discovery above leads into the real meat of the conversation. Huddersfield in the Premier League, and for FPL players, a potentially delicious opening run of fixtures that could yield some very attractive and low cost points for your team. Ask a lot of FPL veterans about promoted teams in the FPL, and they'll tell you to avoid them, but if you choose to ignore that, Huddersfield's run of games are worth attention.
With Palace, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham, Leicester, and Burnley, in their first six games, Wagner will be looking to hit the ground running in the Premier League, and with plenty of pricey options elsewhere, a Huddersfield option might be one worthy to take a risk with. If it backfires, it won't destroy your FPL team, rather you'll most likely be buffered by the premium options in midfield.
Can Huddersfield actually make the difference though for FPL players? That's what we're going to outline below.
Assessing Huddersfield's FPL Options
We've come up with a short list of three that covers all of the bases for positions in regards to who we think might be some of the diamonds in the rough. Realistically, it is incredibly difficult to get behind a newly promoted team, let alone one that ended up with negative goal difference and had to get promoted via the Play Offs, without scoring a single goal. Nevertheless this is the Premier League and anything can happen. We remember similar arguments being made around Bournemouth when promoted. David Wagner's gone the distance to refurbish the Terrier's squad, so answering definite's as to their lineups will obviously be difficult. Anyway, let's crack on with our three picks, who we have picked due to their value in the Huddersfield squad, and our general gut instinct.
DEFENDER: Chris Löwe (£4.5m)
- Appearances: 44 (42 starts, 2 as a substitute; 3834 minutes played)
- Goals: 2
- Assists: 3
- Clean Sheets: 12 from 46 matches
- Discipline: 8 yellows, 0 red
Will he play?: Highly likely that Town will field Lowe and Smith as full-backs this season
We start off with perhaps the most questionable of the three. Chris Lowe is a 28 year old left-back who Huddersfield signed from German side FC Kaiserslautern, who had just suffered relegation to the Bundesliga 2. David Wagner was quick to pick the bones of the side for Lowe, who is an attacking full back alongside Tommy Smith on the right flank. A staple of the Town side for much of last season, Lowe is one of Wagner's guys that understands how to play his pressing system, and with the support of van La Parra on the left side (though Tom Ince might fill into that role), Lowe could be a potential FPL option for manager's to consider.
Lowe's got competition at left-back in the Town squad, with the club signing Scott Malone from Fulham, with Wagner impressed by the six-goal defender last season. Malone's a slight doubt for the start of the season, and with Lowe a more senior figure at the club, he'll surely take the reigns at Crystal Palace, and be the first one to attempt to mark out the deadly Wilfried Zaha. On paper it is a scary thought, but Lowe's got fixtures on his side, with both clubs either new to the league, or under new management. Lowe's also got the added advantage of being high on the pecking order with free kicks, penalties, and corners, though he'll have to compete with Aaron Mooy for set-piece duty.
Huddersfield face an enticing first 6 games, with Newcastle, Southampton, and Leicester, visiting the John Smith's Stadium first. It's not unfeasible to think that Huddersfield might come away from these fixtures with some FPL points in the bag, and if that's the case, Lowe will be amongst the numbers.
MIDFIELDER: Aaron Mooy (£5.5m)
- Appearances: 48 appearances (45 starts, 3 as a substitute; 4161 minutes played including Town's play-off fixtures)
- Goals: 4
- Assists: 7
- Discipline: 6 yellows, 0 red
Position: Central midfield / attacking midfielder (CAM)
Will he play?: Yes, without question
The most hype surrounding Huddersfield and a potential FPL option this season comes in the form of Aaron Mooy. The Australian international has signed permanently for the club from Man City having been a standout performer for the Terries in a central midfield position. Mooy is the go to man for all of Town's set-pieces, where his £5.5m value begins to take shape. Of course, Huddersfield are the team everybody expects to be whipping boys this season, but set-piece potential is never ignored in the FPL, regardless of who you play for. Gylfi Sigurdsson at Swansea is testament to that.
In the Huddersfield squad Mooy will likely partner Johnathan Hogg, a no nonsense defensive midfielder who likes to get his foot stuck into a tackle, with newcomer Danny Williams from Reading, also vying for competition. Having watched Danny Williams for years, and having Reading fans sing his praises as a workhorse who gives it is all in every match, the midfielder could force his way into the midfield slot occupied by Mooy, potentially giving Mooy the number 10 role behind the central striker.
Moy's inclusion as a 4th or 5th midfielder would raise questions currently, with the Aussie as of writing only commanding 2.3% ownership in the FPL. It's likely that Mooy will be a bonus points magnet, playing in a central role, if Huddersfield score, which is an added advantage. The only factor that manager's need to consider is if they have faith in Huddersfield kicking the ground running in the Premier League. If that's the case, the masses will flock to Mooy as their guy.
FORWARD: Steve Mounie (£6.0m)
2016/17 Stats (for Montpellier in France's Ligue 1):
- Appearances: 35 (32 starts, 3 as a substitute; 2830 minutes played)
- Goals: 14
- Assists: 3
- Discipline: 4 yellows, 1 red
Position: Centre forward
Will he play?: Mounie's the talk of the Town, he's got to play
Lastly on the docket is Huddersfield's record signing, and a player that we here at the Hype Train are seriously putting onto our watchlist's for the beginning of the season. Steve Mounie isn't a name most in the Premier League circle will know, but if you follow France's Ligue 1 at all, you'll know that Mounie is a proven goal-scorer, who was only one goal shy of matching the in-form Mario Balotelli's goal haul. Mounie is the latest Montpellier striker to make the move to the Premier League (yes, that's the club Arsenal's Olivier Giroud once played for), and Huddersfield fans are also purring over his potential to lead the line next season.
The Benin forward always has a taste for goal, netting in three consecutive pre-season friendlies for Town, and at 6ft 3inches, the tall striker is also pacey and powerful, a perfect combination for a potentially prolific Premier League forward. Will Mounie start though? Kachunga isn't a worry for his position (as he's going to be playing on the right), and neither will Nahki Wells, but Laurent Depoitre, a record signing from Porto befor Mooy and Mounie were announced at the club, will do everything in his power to dethrone a potential starter. That said, Mounie is a record signing and is a proven scorer in a top European league, and we expect that to translate to starts at the beginning of the season.
Our money sticks with Mounie. He's an underrated choice for your 3rd forward position. With fixtures on his side, the powerful forward might gatecrash Gameweek 1 with a shock. Huddersfield are the unknown, and if they're to shock a global audience on the opening weekend, and beat Crystal Palace, Mounie will be part of the equation that does it.
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