Huddersfield Town vs Swansea City

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 31

Date: 20/02/2020

Score: 4-1

Ground: John Smith Stadium

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. Rowe is growing from strength to strength.

After an impressive cameo in the second half against Middlesbrough, it was a welcomed sight to see Aaron Rowe start against Swansea and he grasped his chance with both hands. Playing in the LWB role, the 20-year-old has now showed that he can play in a number of positions, having previously played all the way down the right-hand side. I think the 'wing back' role suits him better, as he doesn't have to be as strong defensively than when he plays full back, but it also allows him to open up space for the midfield and forwards down the flank. His assist for Duane Holmes first goal proved this. With him also being confident on either foot, he adds another dimension to the Town attack since most of the Town team are very one-footed and therefore very predictable - hence why Harry Toffolo has not been able to keep up his early-season form as opposition analysts have told defenders to show him onto his right foot. With Rowe, this isn't an issue.
Toffolo returns from suspension on Tuesday, but after Rowe's showing these past two games, I think it would be unfair to presume Rowe automatically makes way for Toffolo.

2. The 'keeper debate continues.

Let's be honest it was a very simple game for Ryan Schofield in goal with Swansea not particularly threatening Town, the free-kick from Hourihane was good, but I would expect Schofield to save it. No clean sheets in 11 games for Schofield and while I think he has been let down by his defenders in some of the games, he is also not an innocent bystander in Town's poor defensive form.
I think he is a quality shot-stopper, but he is looking very indecisive when coming out for clearances. His distribution is poor and while he is only going to get better by playing games, I think he needs to be taken out of the firing line for a few games. Jayson Leutwiler is an experienced goalkeeper and I think if he was brought in for a few games, he could potentially ease the pressure on the defence due to his experience and then in turn it would help Schofield when he would return due a rise in confidence of the players in front of him.

3. Holmes will get the headlines but Campbell was also exceptional.

Town played a 352, which meant that Holmes and Campbell played as a forward two together. Holmes dispatched a good chance before he scored an absolute cracker. Campbell on the other hand, eased the pressure off himself as he scored his first goal in eight games after having a goal earlier adjudged offside. Campbell also notched up an assist for the Lewis O'Brien thunderbolt. I felt that Campbell didn't particularly do anything different to usual, but the 352, with Rowe and Pipa on the wings, exploiting the space that Campbell was creating allowed Town to score the chances they did.

4. The attention span of a child on Christmas Day.

I do like Naby Sarr, I think he adds much-needed height into the Town side, making him a key asset in offensive and defensive corners. Today he made a key goal line clearance, won 3/3 aerials, made 6 clearances and completed 2 interceptions and while he is superb for the majority of a game, he still has that mistake in him as he likes to gallop up the pitch and lose the ball in an area where we can easily be punished. For me, he lacks concentration. He has made some key errors this season and while he makes up for them in his goals and headed clearances, his concentration span, (especially as he is in possession of the ball for long periods of the game) worries me. I think Town need to look into a way in which they can reduce the number of mistakes Sarr makes.

5. Game Management.

Once again Town conceded an equaliser after taking the lead and it was disappointing to see. Town sat off Swansea after playing them off the park for the first 35 minutes. I understand we can't play high tempo play all the time, but whenever we sit off the opposition, we allow them to come onto us and more often than not we concede. The same happened after we scored those 3 quick goals after half time. I am sure you are thinking, "Statto we have won 4-1, surely you can't be complaining", but I don't particularly see what we did differently from other games this season. Statistically, we only produced 0.99xG, with our only clear cut chance being Holmes' first goal (0.42xG). Town could have pushed on, especially when Swansea was down to 10 men (although I do wish Jordan Morris a speedy recovery, as it looks like he may have torn the ligaments in his knee). The last 30 minutes felt like a dead rubber game. This was highlighted by Richard Stearman attempting more passes (18) than Aaron Rowe (17), with Stearman being on the pitch for 6 minutes, while Rowe was on for 84 minutes. If Town had kept up their early second-half pressure, it could have been 6 or 7 goals for Town.
Ultimately I think Town winning was vital for confidence, but I don't think it was a perfect performance by no means, Swansea was poor and to concede was disappointing, but at the end of the day, it was a much-needed win. Roll on Tuesday night.

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ryan Schofield, Pipa, Richard Keogh, Naby Sarr, Aaron Rowe (84' Jaden Brown), Alex Vallejo, Lewis O'Brien, Juninho Bacuna (79' Scott High), Jonathan Hogg (86' Alex Pritchard), Duane Holmes (86' Richard Stearman), Fraizer Campbell (72' Kieran Phillips)
Subs: Joel Pereira, Demeaco Duhaney, Jaden Brown, Romoney Crichlow, Richard Stearman, Sorba Thomas, Alex Pritchard, Scott High, Kieran Phillips
Formation: 352

Match Statistics

Huddersfield Town: Swansea City:
xG (Expected Goals): 0.99 0.43
Possession %: 59 41
Total Shots: 11 9
On Target: 5 3
Tackles: 6 14
Pass Accuracy %: 85 75
Fouls: 8 10
Yellow Cards: 1 1
Red Cards: 0 0

Latest Articles: