Huddersfield Town vs Norwich City

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 1

Date: 12/09/2020

Score: 0-1

Ground: John Smith Stadium

Many fans feared a heavy defeat against a strong Norwich City side, so to come away empty handed is not an unexpected result. For many fans including myself, Town really should have come away with a point if not all three.
Town defended well for the first 75 minutes and looked to be heading for at least a draw on the opening day of the Championship season until an under hit backpass allowed Teemu Pukki to intercept and square it to Adam Idah who tidily put the ball in the back of the net. Although this seemed fair considering Norwich could have potentially had two penalties earlier in the game.
More worrying for me now is that Town have now drawn blanks in front of goal in 6 out of their last 8 games. This was summed up by Town only having a 0.23 xG (Expected Goal) rate with only two shots from inside the box - one for Josh Koroma and another for Alex Pritchard, for comparison Norwich had an xG of 1.43.
While it was not an awful team performance I think it should be said that Ben Hamer had a solid game, his only slight mistake was spilling a shot that was easily cleared by Richard Stearman.
A first day defeat is nothing new to Town, losing six out of their last nine opening day fixtures, only winning two and drawing the other one.
Town's next game is matchday 2 in the EFL Championship next Saturday (19/09/2020) at Brentford.

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. Grant needs to go!

While Grant remains in my opinion Huddersfield's best player, I want him to leave. Town are operating a 1 out, then 1 in system and it is reported that there are a few incoming deals that are hinging on his transfer to West Brom. I was not surprised that Corberan chose not to play him based off what Karlan put on twitter - essentially complaning about why he has not been sold yet.
BUT we can not afford for a high value asset like Karlan to not play if he is available.

2. O'Brien is a big miss

The hole left in the team by Lewis O'Brien and Karlan Grant shows how important they were to us last season. While Ben Jackson did fill in well I think it was a very tough game to make your Championship debut in considering most of Norwich's players are internationals and most of them played in the Premier League last season. Although saying this, I think he handled his performance better than both of his more experienced colleagues in midfield who were disappointing.
Based off the game I would change O'Brien for Jonathon Hogg or Alex Pritchard rather than Jackson.

3. Individual Errors are costing us again!

I think it was fair to say that Richard Stearman had a good game up until his error that led to Adam Idah scoring, but, mistakes like this are inexcusable. If you look at the 2016/17 season, Town won 22 games by one goal and the reason why we were able to win by 1 goal but still not look like we were under any threat was because we were not making individual errors and keeping things tight.
I don't think it is right that we as fans criticise every error a player makes, I think in this situation you can question selection. I don't understand why we are still picking the same player after he has made 3 individual errors leading to goals in his last 4 starts (Millwall, Bradford and now Norwich).
I would rather it was a young player making these sorts of mistakes rather than a seasoned professional. In my opinion I would have started Romoney Crichlow or Rarmani Edmonds-Green ahead of him.
Although one possible explanation is due to who the other centre back is - Christopher Schindler. I think Schindler is captain due to his professionalism but he is not a natural leader. In defence, Stearman is much more confident when organising is fellow players.

4. We did the Premier League all wrong

Norwich have already signed 11 players and spent just over £1 million more than they spent in the Premier League last season. When Town went up we sort of signed a Championship 'All Star 11' - Scott Malone, Tom Ince, Alex Pritchard, Danny Williams while keeping Aaron Mooy, Kasey Palmer and Elias Kachunga, while only 2 season later 2 of these players remained at the club following the relegation.
Norwich on the other hand have a squad that has the potential to score 100 points and get them back to the Premier League this season.
I think this was summed up by Town trying to sign Kieran Dowell on loan last season and instead this season Norwich signing him permanently without any issues.

5. Sign more players like Pipa please Carlos

A signing of Pipa's calibre shows the sort player that Carlos can attract and while Pipa clearly hadn't fully acclimatised to English it is clear to me that he is a steal at £600,000. If Town can get 3-4 more player like Pipa then it will really strengthen the team and we should not have any fears of relegation!

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ben Hamer, Pipa, Christopher Schindler, Richard Stearman (82' Fraizer Campbell), Harry Toffolo, Jonathon Hogg, Ben Jackson (57' Isaac Mbenza), Alex Pritchard, Adama Diakhaby (71' Jaden Brown), Josh Koroma, Juninho Bacuna
Subs: Joel Pereira, Aaron Rowe, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Isaac Mbenza, Jaden Brown, Romoney Crichlow, Fraizer Campbell
Formation: 433

Match Statistics

Town: Norwich City
xG (Expected Goals): 0.28 1.46
Possession %: 47 53
Total Shots: 7 16
On Target: 1 5
Tackles: 11 15
Pass Accuracy %: 73 76
Fouls: 19 15
Yellow Cards: 1 3
Red Cards: - -