Huddersfield Town vs Stoke City

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 27

Date: 30/01/2020

Score: 1-1

Ground: John Smith Stadium

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. New Striker needed

Whether you think Fraizer Campbell makes a big contribution to Town off the ball or not, the last few games have proved Town's serious lack of competition upfront. Today he looked tired and when he is tired he brings nothing to the side as his key attribute is his pressing intensity and when he isn't doing that I don't see why he is playing. It was summed up when Duane Holmes fizzed a ball in the closing stages across goal and Kieran Phillips and Campbell are both in the box and only Phillips goes for it while Campbell is just stationary. Town has been linked with Elijah Adebayo and in my opinion, that deal needs wrapping up as a result of today (Elijah Adebayo what to expect).
It is not all Campbell fault I get that, Danny Ward spending alot of time in the injury room has left Campbell with a lot to do, but at 33 years old and still playing 90 minutes most games, Town really needs another viable option than throwing on a 20-year-old who they themselves have said needs protecting due to past injuries.

2. Bacuna and O'Brien are stepping up their game.

The Duane Holmes signing has brought some much-needed competition to the midfield and it seems that Bacuna and O'Brien have really stepped up their game as a result. Bacuna looked very sharp today and was unlucky not to score his second goal in two games if it wasn't for a superb bit of defending by James McClean. O'Brien is still not at the levels he was last season, but it seems like he is heading in the right direction. My only criticism of him is that as he is very one-footed. He needs to either improve his right foot or keep it solely on his left foot as whenever he shifts the ball onto his right, you know whatever he is planning is not likely to come off.

3. Substitutes

10 players out injured today, an unchanged line-up from midweek with only 3 out of the possible 5 substitutes made and 2 of them being made in the final 15 minutes. It still baffles me the way that Carlos uses his substitutes. The serious injuries that Town have suffered this season have not come as a shock to me, but I feel like we are self-inflicting them.
Isaac Mbenza is by no means a slow runner, but I feel like he never wants to run onto the ball in behind the defender like Rolando Aarons and I think he has been told not to by the medical team, he is literally taped together and I can't get my head around why he chooses not to bring on someone like Patrick Jones in his place for the final 15.
It has been a common theme this season that Carlos believes in keeping his starting 11 together and only changing it if absolutely necessary, but I don't see why players like Jaden Brown or Scott High are not given more of a chance off the bench. It seems like Town are low on energy most of the time in the second half and that is why we score the majority of our goals in the opening 30 minutes and not the closing 30. We have seen how substitutes can be 'game-changers' under the Cowleys and for other opposition teams this season, but I just can't get my head around Corberan's stubbornness to not use them.

4. Vallejo is impressing.

I was left to wonder why we signed Vallejo earlier in the season as he was only getting 10 minutes here and there and then he had a shaky game against Plymouth, but he has impressed me since. His range of passing is exceptional while he also looks in control when he is on the ball. His defending is still remains to be seen, but overall he is looking like a smart piece of business. Today he was my man of the match, although Lee Hendrie thought otherwise, but then again I did question if I was watching the same game as him at times with the clueless comments he was sprouting.

5. Another defensive calamity!

I thought the penalty was soft and if anything Clarke threw himself to the ground, but once again Town shot themselves in the foot. Richard Keogh didn't need to pass across the defence and Sarr certainly didn't need to go to ground in the box because unless you win the ball you are going to give away a penalty because the attacker is always going down. Against Bristol City Town threw away the three points as a result of the early defensive mistakes and yet again it happened today. Ryan Schofield is looking short on confidence as well and I think that is down to the players in front of him changing from game to game and the chances that the opposing attackers are getting as a result of a defensive errors is by no means helping his confidence.

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ryan Schofield, Pipa, Richard Keogh (77' Kieran Phillips), Naby Sarr, Harry Toffolo, Alex Vallejo, Lewis O'Brien, Juninho Bacuna, Fraizer Campbell, Isaac Mbenza (85' Alex Pritchard), Rolando Aarons (59' Duane Holmes)
Subs: Joel Pereira, Demeaco Duhaney, Jaden Brown, Duane Holmes, Romoney Crichlow, Scott High, Kieran Phillips, Alex Pritchard, Patrick Jones
Formation: 433

Match Statistics

Huddersfield Town: Stoke City:
xG (Expected Goals): 0.80 1.18
Possession %: 71 29
Total Shots: 18 7
On Target: 4 1
Tackles: 8 9
Pass Accuracy %: 87 69
Fouls: 12 9
Yellow Cards: 0 1
Red Cards: 0 1

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