Huddersfield Town vs Preston North End

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 7

Date: 24/10/2020

Score: 1-2

Ground: John Smith Stadium

While Town could be criticised for their slow start to the game against Derby, they certainly started the game the better side against North End. Juninho Bacuna burst through on goal early on, but Rudd did well to smother the ball. The breakthrough came in the 9' minute when Lewis O’Brien slipped through Fraizer Campbell who finished to get his second goal of the season, which is over half the amount of goals he scored last season.
The opening goal shocked Preston, who improved and looked a lot more threatening and in the 15', Bauer had a free header in the box from a corner who should have really scored. Sarr really impressed in the first half and made a number of crucial interceptions and blocks to deny the Lancashire side. Preston's best chance of the first half came after Sinclair picked up Richard Stearman poor header and really should have finished. The talking point of the first half came when Preston's Brad Potts put in a questionable challenge on Fraizer Campbell, where the referee only showed a yellow. Town went into the break in the lead, but Preston certainly didn't look out of the game.
Preston's late pressure from the first half carried over into the second half, with Preston skipper Alan Browne scoring an equaliser in the 51'. Browne compiled Town's misery 2 minutes later scoring to put Preston 2-1 up after a mix up between Ben Hamer and Naby Sarr allowed Browne to put it in the empty Town net.
Town made 2 substitutes shortly after the goals. Christopher Schindler and Lewis O’Brien made way for Carel Eiting and Adama Diakhaby in the 58'. In the 67' Richard Stearman did a brillaint last man tackle to deny Preston's Striker. Josh Koroma came on for Isaac Mbenza in the 70' minute in the quest for an equaliser. Naby Sarr was then shown Huddersfield's first red card of the season after a coming together with a Preston's number 19. It was last man but also quite far from goal, but it seemed quite harsh that Town were down to 10 men and not Preston after the tackle Potts put in in the first half. The red card did not break Town's determination to find an equaliser with Town having a number of consecutive corners.
Town ended the game still searching for an elusive equaliser, with the final 10 minutes being attack against defence for both teams as Town piled men forward for a goal. The game ended 2-1 to Preston and although it wasn't the result Town wanted, it was a great game of football for the neutral.
Town's next game is matchday 8 in the EFL Championship on Wednesday (28/10/2020) away at Birmingham City.

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. A Loss BUT much much better to watch than the game last season!

0.05 was Town's xG last season in this fixture and although Town ended that game with a point, the improvement was clear to see. Town actually was playing forward balls and having a go at the Preston defence. Historically we don't do well against big physical teams and although we need to try to change this, the performance showed a big step in the right direction.
Even though we lost, I was in the edge of my seat throughout the second half and thoroughly enjoyed watching the game. It was probably the first time I have gone away from a loss and thought we had played a good game of football for a long time.

2. Fraizer, keep the dyed hair!

Ever since Campbell has dyed his hair he has been on fire. Two goals already this season and has 39 games left to score one goal and that will have matched his tally from last season. He is adding another dimension to the attack with his pressing and deserved his goal today. Keep it up Fraizer!

3. ifollow

Can the EFL do anything right? ifollow has been a shambles all season, from fans not being able to log in to watch the game while also being shown black screens. Today was another shambles, the commentary sounded awful while also showing me a video of Christopher Schindler for about 20 seconds while Preston had a dangerous free-kick, no name a few issues. When you are charging people for a service you should be producing it to the highest level of quality possible. If that is genuinely the best they can do then that is embarrassing.

4. Formation change dependent on opponents

Under Wagner and Cowley, Town had one formation and stuck with it. Whereas under Corberan, Town has already played in a: 433, 4231 and 532/352 (however you view a three centre back-formation). Usually, when a manager has played three different formations seven games into the season, you would be questioning if he knows what he is doing as it would seem like he isn't happy with his tactics. With this being said, Corberan has a clear plan, his tactics are changing the formation depending on the opponent, something we have not seen since Wagner changed his formation against top 6 sides in the 2017/18 season. For me, this is very impressive and shows his tactical competency. Although the result is not what we wanted, it is great to see that Town have multiple game plans and not just one that we saw under the Cowleys.

5. Town need to know how to cope with dirty sides

I was not impressed with some of Preston's antics and after last season's fiasco with the Ledson's horror tackle on Elphick, Preston did nothing to change my opinion. Potts' challenge on Campbell should really have ended in a red. Bauer hauling down Bacuna when he was bursting through was also not great, BUT Town really needs to understand how to play these sorts of teams better. They need to really improve against these sides to have any hope in a top-half finish.

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ben Hamer, Pipa, Christopher Schindler (58' Adama Diakhaby), Richard Stearman, Naby Sarr, Harry Toffolo, Jonathon Hogg, Juninho Bacuna, Lewis O'Brien (59' Carel Eiting), Fraizer Campbell, Isaac Mbenza (70' Josh Koroma)
Subs: Joel Pereira, Demeaco Duhaney, Alex Pritchard, Carel Eiting, Romoney Crichlow, Josh Koroma, Adama Diakhaby
Formation: 532

Match Statistics

Huddersfield Town: Preston North End:
xG (Expected Goals): 0.72 1.08
Possession %: 55 45
Total Shots: 15 16
On Target: 3 7
Tackles: 17 16
Pass Accuracy %: 76 71
Fouls: 12 14
Yellow Cards: 2 5
Red Cards: 1 -

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