Huddersfield Town vs Watford

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 20

Date: 19/12/2020

Score: 2-0

Ground: John Smith Stadium

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. Does Ben Hamer automatically return in goal?

Ryan Schofield has three clean sheets in four starts this season and is looking very calm while in possession, but with Ben Hamer looking like he is going to be available for the boxing day fixture against Barnsley, it is going to cause Corberan a selection headache. While Schofield pulled off some exceptional saves today, I still believe Hamer is the better shot-stopper, but Schofield has much better distribution. I look forward to the tight battle for the number one shirt for the remainder of the season.

2. The Substitution Battle

I have noticed a very subtle tactical ploy from Carlos Corberan in recent fixtures when Town and their opposition are both about to make substitutions at the same time - Carlos will change his mind and hold off making a sub. Alex Vallejo was meant to come on in the 77th minute today, but as Watford was about to make a double switch, Vallejo was sent back into the stands.
It seems that Carlos wants to see how the opposition set up changes with the change in players, before deciding what to do. In the end, he opted to bring on Aaron Rowe instead and while it might seem cruel on Vallejo it is showing a high tactical competency from Corberan.

3. Town have switched their attack

This was the first time Town had scored since Josh Koroma went off injured against Sheffield Wednesday and it was a big relief. Town had previously played very heavily down the left-hand side and against Conventry there were a few times where a Town man played a blind pass to where you would usually expect Josh Koroma to be.
Looking at the heat map against Watford, Town seems to have replicated their previously left-sided focus to the right-hand side. I was worried that the link-up between Toffolo and Koroma would be missed, but it seems that Mbenza and Pipa are starting to form a similar bond.

Taken from Whoscored. Huddersfield heatmap vs QPR. Attacking left to right

Taken from Whoscored. Huddersfield heatmap vs Watford. Attacking left to right

As you can see by the heatmaps from Whoscored, Town have had to switch their line of attack and today was the first time they managed to successfully implement it since the QPR game, when Josh Koroma played the whole game.
In light of this, Corberan seems to like having his team play in an asymmetric formation and prioritising play down one wing, with the stronger wing having a winger pushing further up the line while on the opposite side, the winger plays deeper and more defensively.

4. Fraizer Campbell was brilliant.

I may not be his biggest fan, but Campbell was utterly outstanding today. Sometimes his pressing can be criticised due to it pulling him away from his primary job - being the team's striker, but today he got the balance just right! He was kicked about a lot today by the Watford backline, but he kept going. His goal came as a result of him being in the box, closing off a passing lane. That was his fourth goal of the season and he has already beaten his tally from last season.

5. 20 games in and 5 points off the Play-Offs!

At this stage last season, Town were on 18 points and in a relegation battle, 12 months on and Town are looking on for a solid mid-table finish. While I think the play-offs are one step too far for Town this season, a few signings in January and there is no reason why not to aim for the play-offs. This season is mad and I think there are going to be quite a few teams around the playoff positions come May and I don't think it is nailed on who is going to make it up. Town beat a fairly poor Watford side today who are seen as the benchmark for promotion, which sort of shows the quality this season in the division. But let us not get ahead of ourselves, Championship survival is still the main aim this season as we still stabilise from the Premier League journey.

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ryan Schofield, Pipa , Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Naby Sarr, Harry Toffolo, Jonathon Hogg, Lewis O'Brien, Carel Eiting (63' Alex Prtichard), Fraizer Campbell, Isaac Mbenza (81' Aaron Rowe), Juninho Bacuna (90' Adama Diakhaby)
Subs: Joel Pereira, Demeaco Duhaney, Jaden Brown, Adama Diakhaby, Romoney Crichlow, Alex Vallejo, Aaron Rowe, Alex Pritchard, Patrick Jones
Formation: 433

Match Statistics

Huddersfield Town: Watford:
xG (Expected Goals): 0.99 3.21
Possession %: 42 58
Total Shots: 10 21
On Target: 3 5
Tackles: 17 17
Pass Accuracy %: 73 81
Fouls: 13 11
Yellow Cards: 2 1
Red Cards: - -

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