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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Premier League preview 2018/19 - Huddersfield: Lack of goals may haunt Wagner's hopes

Richard Jolly is analysing all 20 teams competing in the Premier League and giving his verdict on how they will fare. Here he looks at how Huddersfield's chances of staving off relegation

Will Huddersfield Town and their manager David Wagner suffer second-season syndrome? Reuters
Will Huddersfield Town and their manager David Wagner suffer second-season syndrome? Reuters

Lowdown: Staying up, David Wagner argued in April, would be even more remarkable than going up. Huddersfield Town did survive, courtesy of draws at Manchester City and Chelsea, but it would be no mean feat to make it a third straight season in the top flight, something the Terriers have not enjoyed since the 1950s.

Some of Wagner’s charges probably performed above their natural levels last year and may have to again. At least there is more quality in defence in the form of Erik Durm and Terence Kongolo, who had been an excellent loan signing. Retaining Huddersfield’s feelgood factor will also be key.

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Read more

Premier League 2018/19 preview: Team-by-team guide and predictions

Premier League transfer window: all the new signings for 2018/19 season

Huddersfield's David Wagner delighted at stealing point from Chelsea

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Key player: Jonas Lossl – Erratic but sometimes brilliant, the goalkeeper kept Huddersfield up with an astonishing performance at Chelsea, but only four players in the division made more errors that led to goals last season.

The Dane is capable of winning and losing points. When the margins are so fine, he can be crucial either way.

Manager: David Wagner – Has spurned interest from both his native Germany and Premier League clubs such as Leicester City and West Ham United in the last two seasons and signed a new three-year contract in May. Such loyalty could backfire, but it has helped make him a hero in Yorkshire.

Talking point: Can they score enough goals? Remarkably, Huddersfield drew a blank in 21 of 38 league games last season. They mustered a mere 28 goals. No player got more than seven. Only three got more than three.

It scarcely helped that only Swansea City averaged fewer shots per game. While none of the defenders mustered a goal, a bigger issue was that the attacking midfielders chipped in with far too few.

New wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Adama Diakhaby must improve on that record; so, too, the January acquisition Alex Pritchard. Huddersfield made a few goals go a long way last season, but it is not a failsafe formula.

Prediction: 19th.