The Opposition Opinion – Huddersfield (A) – “I can’t say I’m very confident!”

We’ve been speaking to a Huddersfield fan ahead of this week’s  ‘Opposition Opinion’ piece, gaining some thoughts from lifelong Terrier Joe Turner ahead of our trip to Yorkshire this weekend. 

As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.

Here’s what @JoeCurragh had to say during our pre-match chat this week:

Q1) – What short of shape do you feel Huddersfield are in coming into this game? I see you have a few injury issues..

“We had a really difficult start to the season, playing & losing to a lot of the top teams. Our performances during this period were quite good but we failed to get the results. We were quite unlucky, hitting woodwork on numerous occasions.

‘We’ve since had a good spell but that momentum was halted by an unlucky loss to Brighton when our main striker, Steve Mounie, was controversially sent off.

“Since then we’ve lost our last three games but produced a resolute performance to only lose 1-0 in our last game to Arsenal.

“We were dealt a huge injury blow this week when our star player, Aaron Mooy, was ruled out for 2 months with a knee injury.”

Q2) – Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side? Any ‘ones to watch’ (for good or for bad) that most NUFC fans wouldn’t know about from watching you on Match of the Day?

‘Strengths of our side are our defence & midfield, weakness is our lack of goals.

Our rock at the back is the German centre back, Christopher Schindler, he’s such a consistent, reliable performer who reads the game so well & produces timely interceptions & saving tackles. He forms a solid partnership at the back in a 3 man defence alongside Terence Kongolo and Zanka.

“Erik Durm was signed in the summer from Borussia Dortmund as a wing back. He’s a German international who has a 2004 world cup winners medal and he’s starting to really settle into the side, showing his obvious quality. 

“Our standout player in midfield (now that Mooy is injured) is the Danish youngster, Phillip Billing. He’s been at Town since he was 16 and has really come of age this season. His qualities on the ball have been obvious to everyone at Town for a long time, his only weakness was his work rate off the ball. He’s really worked on that & he’s been arguably our best performer this season so far. He’s the one player in the current Town side who you could see moving to a top 6 side in the near future, he’s that good.

“Our main weakness is obvious – lack of goals. Our two main strikers, Laurent Depoitre & Steve Mounie, have failed to score this season. Opinion is split amongst Town fans whether this weak goal threat is due to lack of service or the two strikers not being good enough. It’s not an easy job being a striker for Town because we create so few chances that the pressure is really on the strikers to score with the limited chances that we do create.”

“Our two main disappointments so far this season have been our two wingers that we signed for big money in the summer from France – Mbenza & Diakhaby. They were supposed to address the issue of lack of service to our strikers but they’ve been mainly unused so far this season as they’ve struggled to adapt to the PL.”

Q3) – Which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?

‘I think your main strength has been the organisational skills of Rafa Benitez because your team has always been very well organised & disciplined when we’ve played against you.

“I like the balance of Diame & Ki in midfield, that seems to be working well for you at the moment, and Rondon is obviously the main target man for you and is a threat.

‘I’m quite wary of Perez because although he can be inconsistent, he does seem able to produce the odd moment of magic and those types of player are rare in the PL.

“I saw the game against Wolves, and I thought Lascelles was unusually poor, he looked well off the pace for some reason. If he plays like that again this weekend then we could try and exploit that.”

Q4) – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?

‘I’m hopeless at predictions!

“I think it will be cagey & tight because Rafa Benitez likes his teams to be compact, disciplined & organised, so I can’t see there being many goals, especially when you consider how few goals Town have scored this season. It often boils down to the old cliche ‘who wants it more’ and Town are starting to get desperate for points in our attempt to avoid relegation. We had far more points at this stage of last season so I think we might get a result because we need to start picking up wins at home. Our home form has generally been good, driven on by our passionate home support. Having said that I think we might struggle for win without Mooy.”

“Score prediction 1-1. I can’t say I’m very confident!’

Q5) –  It’s fair to say both of our clubs are facing a fight to stay up this season. Which three sides do you see going down & why?

‘ I think Town could well struggle to stay up this season because we’re not having much luck at the moment – injuries, suspensions, unlucky results, unused summer signings etc. – however, I can’t bring myself to predict us to go down so I’ll pick Cardiff, Fulham & Burnley to be relegated.

‘Burnley were very poor against us this season, they looked such a limited, long ball team to me & overly physical as well. Fulham were the worst team to play against Town this season. They had no identity, obvious playing style, were defensively shocking and just looked like an assortment of expensively assembled individuals. They might improve under Ranieri but I’m not so sure. I’m not Warnock’s biggest fan so I wouldn’t be too upset if Cardiff went down.”

Q6) – If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to see David Wagner go for?

‘The one player I’d like to sign from Newcastle is Shelvey to replace our currently injured Aaron Mooy.

‘He plays like Mooy & even looks uncannily like him too, perfect fit all round!’

Q7) – Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be?

‘(4-3-3) Dubravka –  Durm, Schindler, Lascelles, Kongolo – Shelvey, Billing, Mooy  – Ritchie, Rondon, Pritchard. ‘

A big thanks to Joe for taking some time this week to speak to us. He doesn’t sound too confident, which could bode well ahead of the game – with him clearly feeling they’ll miss star man Aaron Mooy. 

Next up will be the thoughts of a Fulham fan ahead of next weekend’s game at St James’ Park.


(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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