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My Huddersfield Run - FIFA 19

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Some of you may remember that I once revisited FIFA 14 and took Everton from an aging side wallowing in the middle of the Premier League to the Champions League. I enjoyed doing that, and want to try it again.

Huddersfield have had what can only be described as a fucking awful season. Fourteen points is easily the worst tally in the Football League in recent years to the best part of my memory. Derby County finished with 11 points in their record-breakingly season of house shittery.

With this in mind, I had an idea.

I’ve been really enjoying FIFA 19. It’s my first FIFA since ‘14, and even though the online gameplay is massively scripted, I find enjoyment playing against the COMs day-in and day-out. I don’t have anything fancy like FM19 and don’t have the money for it as I’m a poor student.

I intent to save Huddersfield from the relegation battle, and take them from loses to draws and then to wins. For anyone following this I also intend to offer a thorough and in-depth analysis of tactics, line-ups, match ratings and statistics - all to gauge with you my thought processes and a run down for suggestions and the on-going ‘gossip’ surrounding the Terriers. Any suggestions are welcome.

Whether anyone follows this or not, I’m looking forward to presenting this run-through, and possible ‘Road to Glory’, to you.

I’ve laid down a few ground rules to start.

  • All games shall be a length of 10 minutes per half.
  • All games shall be played on Legendary difficulty. No handicaps will be in place, fair field of play.
  • Custom tactics will be outlined before the game if changed.
  • Original squads will be used before the start of the save file.

I look forward to this. Hopefully I can make some good judgements and take a very good Championship side (their realistic level of expectation in English football) and make them a solid outfit. With that said, let’s go.

Edited by Walker

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To start, I have compiled some of Huddersfield's real-world data from the 2018/2019 season with 36 games played. I’ll update this until the end of the current season.

  • Games Played: 36
  • Points: 14
  • W/D/L: 3/5/28
  • Goal Difference: -54 (20/74)
  • Top Goalscorer: Karlan Grant (4)
  • Most Assists: Steve Mounié (3)
  • Premier League: 20/20
  • F.A. Cup: Third Round, 1-0(a) v. Bristol City
  • League Cup: Second Round, 2-0(a) v. Stoke City
  • Biggest Win: Match-day 14: Wolves 0-2 Huddersfield
  • Biggest Loss: Match-day 2: Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield

As these statistics are available, I’ll be comparing my performances against the real-life performances of Huddersfield this season. Whilst I don’t have the time to delve into real-life player statistics for each game, I shall offer such comparisons if I feel it would be beneficial.

Edited by Walker

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Huddersfield Town A.F.C.

Season One: Pre-Season Squad Evaluation

I begin my journey at Huddersfield with the following preliminary determinants; an initial £30.272m transfer budget and £93,405 in remaining wages. I’m willing to give every player a chance during pre-season, no matter how small they may appear. The initial squad is outlined below alongside the initial player ratings.

Goalkeepers: Jonas Lössl (75), Ben Hamer (68), Joel Coleman (63), Ryan Schofield (56).

Right-Backs: Florent Hadergjonaj (74), Tommy Smith (73).

Centre-Backs: Christopher Schindler (78), Mathias Jørgensen (77), Jon Gorenc Stanković (62), Jake Barrett (57), Rarmani Edmonds-Green (55).

Left-Backs: Terence Kongolo (76), Erik Durm (75), Chris Löwe (73), Harry Spratt (57).

Right Midfielders: Elias Kachunga (71), Lewis O’Brien (54).

Central Midfielders: Aaron Mooy (79), Jonathan Hogg (76), Alex Pritchard (74), Danny Williams (71), Juninho Bacuna (70), Jack Payne (68), Philip Billing (68), Matty Daly (59), Scott High (58).

Left Midfielders: Ramadan Sobhi (75), Rajiv van la Parra (72), Abdelhamid Sabiri (64).

Strikers: Steve Mounié (76), Laurent Depoitre (75), Adama Diakhaby (74), Collin Quaner (69), Micah Obiero (58).

Either way, looking at my initial squad two things are initially clear. Huddersfield lack squad depth, especially defensively. Having two string centre backs restricts the versatility of squad rotations and could be devastating should injuries emerge as the season goes on. The same goes for the right side of midfield, eliminating all potential of utilising wingers. The objective of the first transfer window is definitely increasing squad depth. It’s not a case of squad depth being non-existent but rather a lack of quality in the depth. The other clear issue comes in experience. Huddersfield’s initial squad is lacking in combined experience at a high level. Integrating slightly older players into the team should bolster performances in theory, and therefore the criteria are set.

  • We need a new centre-back with experience. Cost-effective but a solid rotation for Schindler and Jorgensen. Dependent on the formation I settle on, I may bring in another centre-back to offer a comprehensive coverage of central defence.
  • A strong back-up, potentially first-choice, goalkeeper. Lössl doesn’t quite cut it by himself if I’m to aim for as high a finish as possible. Dependent on price, I already have my mind set on a strong goalkeeper from Ligue 1.
  • More options for the right side of midfield. I fully intend to utilise my wings and as such it’s perhaps the most important addition I need to ensure we create opportunities from the offset.

Should I run out of funds to fulfil these aims, I’ll have to make a judgement call and sell a couple of the players who I haven’t been too impressed by.

I won’t be taking on this task on a pre-determined base. The default formation for Huddersfield stands as a 4-2-3-1 wide. Whilst I appreciate the versatility it provides in a strong midfield if used correctly, it doesn’t quite fit the direction I want to take the team in. I intend to try it out without any tactics in our first pre-season game for the sole purpose of giving myself an idea of how Huddersfield feel. This early on it may be wise to stick with it, but without trying other things we could easily become unstuck.

Should this formation not work, I am tempted to attempt a 5-2-2-1 or similar set-up. Huddersfield need the versatility to push back and forth with fast wingers and strong central midfielders to put the pressure on the play. A sole striker in the form of either Mounié or another of his counterparts could make or break the current plan for the transfer window. Either way, the only way to figure out what is best is through practice.

 

Season One: Pre-Season Overview

Our initial matches in pre-season come in the form of extremely tough opposition. We are in a pre-season competition known imaginatively as the European Shield. Even though the competition doesn’t matter to me, it would be a nice little accolade to start off with. A trophy is a trophy at the end of the day, and with the winners earning the best part of around £7m, it’s all to play for. Below are the three opponents we’ll face in the group stage of this friendly tournament.

04/07/2018 - Hoffenheim (n)

08/07/2018 - Fiorentina (n)

11/07/2018 - Saint-Etienne (n)

I would take a win in any three of these games. Should we not open any more opportunities for competitive friendly fixtures, I’ll have to go based on what I’ve seen. The squads will consist of a mixture of rotation players and the first-team. I’ll bring on every player via the bench at least once. However well - or poorly - we do, making the mistakes now could determine whether we stay up or go down during the campaign. What happens remains to be seen. All I can say is that Hoffenheim will be sure to challenge us, Fiorentina could penetrate us with ease and Saint-Etienne will likely succumb to a draw. Let’s see.

Edited by Walker

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European Shield Group Stage: Match 1

Huddersfield v. Hoffenheim (04/07/2018)

Huddersfield Team Sheet: (4-2-3-1 WIDE) Lössl; Smith (c), Gorenc Stanković, Schindler, Durm; Kachunga, Bacuna, Mooy, Sobhi, Pritchard; Depoitre.

Hamer; Hadergjonaj (‘69), Barrett; Hogg (‘52), Billing, Van la Parra; Mounié (‘52).

Hoffenheim Team Sheet: (5-3-2) Stolz; Kaderábek, Hoogma, Adams Nuhu, Posch, Brenet; Grillitsch, Geiger, Rupp; Joelinton, Otto.

Baumann; Vogt, Schulz; Bittencourt, Demirbay (‘62); Belfodil (‘62) Kramarić (‘74).

Match Report

The game started slowly. Very little happened during the first ten minutes of the match, until a lucky break from Grillitsch belted into the box and rebounded on the left foot of Otto. A similar scenario resulted in a doubled deficit in double the time.

It was at this moment that I introduce some in-match tactics; a higher centre line coupled with a deliberate offside trap cut Hoffenheim’s dominance with ease. Switching from a 4-2-3-1 wide and into its standard equivalent elevated not only the number of passes made but also the number of attempts on goal. Juninho Bacuna yapped home and was shortly followed by the left-foot of Laurent Depoitre, who curled in a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

With the scoring tied going into the half-time interval, a point appeared to be on the cards at the very least. Two efforts from afar were scarpered until, on his third attempt in so many shots, Aaron Mooy smashed the ball into the top-left corner of the Hoffenheim goal. A quick-fire goal from Elias Kachunga all but sealed a convincing lead over a side which should have dominated us on paper.

For thirteen in-game minutes we held a two-goal advantage. Hoffenheim brought on Ishak Belfodil in the sixty-second minute. What followed next is proof that the team needs work.With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, a low strike from Belfodil hurtled into the net. With a one-goal lead, I switched the tactics immediately to develop a holding situation and instructed the defenders to press the ball if possession were to be lost. With the addition of Andrej Kramarić came an even bigger threat. Within eight minutes the deficit has been undone. With ten minutes of in-game play remaining, playing it safe seemed to be the only reasonable option to guarantee a point.

In the eighty-first minute my expectation became a reality. Plucking up the courage to shoot from a tricky angle, Kramarić bypassed Lössl and cemented a daunting lead. From there Hoffenheim continued to push forward. A reversion to a more attacking squad made no difference. By the eighty-sixth minute our two goal lead had turned into a two goal loss. Undeterred I pushed on. With five minutes of stoppage time I knew that a loss was inevitable. Playing right to the death, Huddersfield began to fight back until a mistimed dive from Lössl conceded a late penalty. With a clean strike down the middle of the net from Belfodil, Hoffenheim cemented a memorable comeback and an even more memorable reminder of the task that lies ahead.

Final Score

Huddersfield 4-7 Hoffenheim

Bacuna ‘37; Depoitre ‘43; Mooy ‘52; Kachunga ‘56.

Otto ‘10, ‘21; Belfodil ‘69, ‘90+4 (pen); Grillitsch ‘77; Kramarić ‘81, ‘87.

Statistics (HUD LEFT | HOF RIGHT)

  • Goals: 4 | 7
  • Shots: 14 | 20
  • Shots on Target: 7 | 16
  • Possession: 52% | 48%
  • Tackles: 36 | 48
  • Fouls: 5 | 9
  • Yellow/Red Cards: 1/1 | 0/0
  • Corners: 8 | 6
  • Shot Accuracy: 50% | 80%
  • Pass Accuracy: 84% | 78%

Player Review (Huddersfield Only)

Jonas Lössl (5.1): One game in and I can already see that Lössl won’t be our first-choice goalkeeper. Despite making some excellent saves throughout the game, Lössl was the definition of complacent. I’m willing to pledge quite a lot of the transfer fund into sorting out the goalkeeping problem, unless Ben Hamer can do better in the next fixture against Fiorentina.

Tommy Smith (6.4): Neither here nor there unfortunately. Whilst Smith effectively broke down a few dangerous attacks by himself, he failed to stand out as an essential player.

Jon Gorenc Stanković (5.7): Showed great potential but was extremely complacent. There’s little else to add unfortunately.

Christopher Schindler (6.9): Where Lössl struggled Schindler put himself on the line. Perhaps the only member of the defence who showed potential to be a full member of the first team.

Erik Durm (5.6): Inconsistent. Will receive another start against Fiorentina but it may be his final chance to prove him.

Elias Kachunga (4.6): Despite what his rating suggests, Kachunga played extremely well. An unfortunate tackle saw him sent off in the ninetieth minute. A strong candidate for a crucial team role.

Juninho Bacuna (7.2): An exceptional talent from what he showed in this game. Bacuna is strong enough to hold off attacking midfielders but also quick enough to build up play whilst under attack. He’ll also appear again in pre-season. Hopefully not a one-game player.

Aaron Mooy (8.6): Captain material. Whenever Mooy took hold of the ball his teammates were firm. Scored a belter from near the half-way line and assisted twice. A crucial player in the team.

Ramadan Sobhi (6.5): The left-midfield position is full of competition. Sobhi probably needs a loan away for the season to properly fulfil his potential.

Alex Pritchard (6.8): Solid player. Created chances which didn’t result in goals but still had an impact on the game.

Laurent Depoitre (6.2): Perhaps more experienced than his performance suggested. I liked having Depoitre on the pitch, but feel he could lag behind in important games as he started to on this occasion.

Florent Hadergjonaj (5.5): Hadergjonaj highlighted the need for a new right-back quickly. He wasn’t bad by any means, but didn’t quite do the job on this occasion.

Jonathan Hogg (6.9): Almost perfect passing, two shots on target and a dangerous player when on the run. Hogg, like Mooy, feels like captain material. A full start will soon show which of the two will assume the role for Huddersfield.

Steve Mounié (6.6): Good. Banged in a beautiful volley from outside of the box. Mounié would potentially be better suited to a CAM role. He could be an asset to the team giving that he is able to adapt.

General Review

I feel that we deserved a point in this game at the very least. Hoffenheim posed less threat than Fiorentina, who I’m now very sceptical of. Huddersfield might have managed to score four, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that sloppy play and questionable blunders gave Hoffenheim what they wanted. An unfortunate match, but one which I hope to build the team up from. Initial positional weaknesses were painstakingly obvious, and the lack of clarity in formation and tactics also let us down. It can’t get much worse than losing such a strong lead, and with the signing of new players in the near future will be sure to fix any problems experienced in this game.

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European Shield Group Stage: Match 2

Fiorentina v. Huddersfield (08/07/2018)

Fiorentina Team Sheet: (4-3-3) Dragowski; Laurini, Ceccherini, Vitor Hugo, Biraghi; Nørgaard, Benassi (c); Chiesa, Simeone, Pjaca.

Lafont; Milenković (‘82), D’Ambrosio; Dabo (‘52), Veretout; Meli, Théréau (‘68).

Huddersfield Team Sheet: (4-3-3 FALSE NINE) Hamer; Hadergjonaj, Edmonds-Green, Jørgensen, Kongolo; Hogg, Mooy (c), Williams; O’Brien, Diakhaby, van la Parra.

Coleman; Smith, Schindler, Durm; Billing, Bacuna; Mounié.

Tactics

I have opted to play using a 4-3-3 False Nine formation in this game. I feel that wingers can be utilised well with the players I have already identified to be part of the Huddersfield team’s backbone.

Defensively, we need to play far back. One observation I made against Hoffenheim was our susceptibility to lobbed balls over the defenders. Playing so far back would solve our inadequacies for the time being until strong defenders can be brought in. When the defence is strong enough, the defence can be lifted further up the field so to leave less room for the opposition to move in. We also want to play closely: opposition wingers may well find opportunities coming in fast, but if the defence is good enough then this won’t be much of a problem. Dropping back is the way forward defensively for now.

As for the offensive side of play, the team will likely benefit from a wider and rapid style of open play. Possession may well be lost more easily, meaning that strong holding midfielders will be essential in guaranteeing success. We’ll also keep players back when attacking opportunities are made so to stop any counter attacks from developing. Strikers should be offering as little defensive support as possible and position themselves on the pitch whereby they can make a quick run and intercept the ball to create an easy chance on goal. Less aggressive play and more flirtatious touches on the ball could fool the other teams and may give us the goal-scoring advantage that we need.

Should this simple tactic prove successful, then it’ll be stuck onto another formation should that fail. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

Match Report

The first half of this fixture proved fruitless for both Fiorentina and Huddersfield. Having nearly conceded twice within the first ten minutes of in-game time, I quickly adopted the defensive tactics outlined above. Upon the stroke of the half-time whistle, Huddersfield had been the better half. Aaron Mooy was perhaps the best player on the pitch during this period, radiating quality and spurring on a strong half.

The second half is where the cracks began to emerge. A ball too high for Ben Hamer to reach whistled into the back of the net from a relatively weak Giovanni Simeone through-ball. Huddersfield began to look strong in the face of goal, offering a rapid succession of shots, each denied by Bartłomiej Dragowski. These were unfortunately the best chances Huddersfield encountered before a finesse shot from Marco Benassi and another from Marko Pjaca cancelled us out completely. This game was nothing to write home about and certainly wasn’t a memorable one.

Final Score

Fiorentina 3-0 Huddersfield

Simeone ‘54; Benassi ‘76, Pjaca ‘84.

Statistics (FIO LEFT | HUD RIGHT)

  • Goals: 3 | 0
  • Shots: 16 | 5
  • Shots on Target: 12 | 4
  • Possession: 57% | 43%
  • Tackles: 15 | 23
  • Fouls: 7 | 12
  • Yellow/Red Cards: 3/0 | 1/0
  • Corners: 3 | 5
  • Shot Accuracy: 75% | 80%
  • Pass Accuracy: 93% | 75%

Player Review (Huddersfield Only)

Ben Hamer (4.9): Definitely not fit to play in the Premier League full-time. Nearing the age of thirty so he may be worth keeping a hold of should Lössl be sold.

Florent Hadergjonaj (6.2): Surprisingly better in this game than he was in the last. A solid passing player, made a few runs up the wing and a powerful threat during set-pieces. Other than this, I feel that Hadergjonaj may not be the best fit for Huddersfield and therefore he may be better off playing his football elsewhere.

Rarmani Edmonds-Green (6.0): Hardly Huddersfield’s future and would be better suited to a team in League One or League Two. Having said that, Edmonds-Green put in a surprisingly solid performance. A good tackler but little else. He will likely be placed on the transfer list or loaned out.

Mathias Jørgensen (4.9): A surprising let-down. Extremely poor on the ball, Jørgensen gave away the ball in extremely poor positions and was the culprit behind the first and third goals. He may be too unreliable to rely upon on a regular basis.

Terence Kongolo (7.2): The most promising defender of the lot so far. Versatile and surprisingly dominant against many of the players in the Fiorentina side, Kongolo may well be the left-back I’ve been looking for.

Jonathan Hogg (6.6): A forgettable first half followed by a good yet stifled second half. Feeling like a potential rotation player if this form continues into the next game.

Aaron Mooy (7.6): As was the case against Hoffenheim, Mooy proved to be the most consistently good player donning the Huddersfield shirt. With more passing and shooting opportunities, there is no reason not to believe that Mooy could be a guiding light in Huddersfield’s battle this season.

Danny Williams (6.0): Neither here nor there. Bang average.

Lewis O’Brien (4.5): Whilst O’Brien appeared to be chasing the ball, it felt more like O’Brien was attempting to sabotage the game. A player more suited to another club in, for example, a local pub league team. Straight onto the transfer list.

Adama Diakhaby (6.8): Promising in front of goal, but has a long way to go before he becomes a regular starter. A potential loan spell away may bring out Diakhaby’s full ability, but that remains to be seen.

Rajiv van la Parra (6.3): Surprisingly good when under pressure but inconceivably average when attempting to press the play more. If he doesn’t work out at Huddersfield then he would definitely be suited to a team playing at a high level.

General Review

In a game of relatively little significance not memorability, a lot was gained. The knowledge that Huddersfield’s squad may struggle to finish above twentieth is one which became increasingly apparent as this game went on. Fiorentina dominated in every aspect of the word: they truly deserved to win. With one game remaining and very little hope of progressing to the next round, one thing is particularly apart: without new signings, Huddersfield look as though they could be doomed from the start.

Edited by Walker

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Pre-Match News

Multiples player have been listed on the transfer market to generate funds for more players. The transfer window’s preliminary aims are still at large, but additional players will be considered. At this stage, I am willing to sell any player for the right price, so long as the sale won’t end up biting me on the arse. Two offers have been made for Elias Kachunga by BSC Young Boys and FC Basel at £2.5m and £3m respectively. Meanwhile, a £3.8m offer from Braga for Laurent Depoitre proved underwhelmingly below meeting the margin.

I am currently eyeing up one ex-Arsenal striker in the form of 25-year-old Yaya Sanogo and the 20-year-old Hamza Choudhury of Leicester. Both would make excellent rotation players and give both future growth and depth to the team. The hunt for a suitable goalkeeper remains fruitless after Benoît Costil rejected a move to the Terriers. A loan move for Pablo Zabaleta fell through immediately, as did an attempt to sign Manuel Lanzini: Lanzini transferred to Marseille for £24m, a figure slightly too high for what I’d be getting.

In the current squad, Kachunga remains suspended and will therefore not play until the start of our Premier League campaign against Chelsea at Kirklees Park. I am trying out five at the back with the same tactics as used in the loss to Fiorentina. By and large they worked but didn’t suit the formation when in the midst of play.

 

European Shield Group Stage: Match 3

Huddersfield v. Saint-Etienne (11/07/2018)

Huddersfield Team Sheet: (5-4-1 FLAT) Lössl; Smith, Schindler, Billing, Kongolo, Löwe; Hogg (c), Bacuna, Sobhi, Mooy; Mounié.

Coleman; Durm (‘45), Barrett; van la Parra, Pritchard (‘53); Diakhaby, Quaner (‘79).

Saint-Etienne Team Sheet: (4-2-3-1) Moulín; Landini, Saliba, Nadé, Silva; Dioussé, M’Vila, Vagner, Monnet-Paquet, Rocha Santos; Abi.

Ruffier; Debuchy (‘64), Kolodziejczak (‘85); Camara, Cabella, Hamouma (‘64); Khazri.

Match Report

I have decided to keep this match report short and simple, otherwise it could take too long to write and I’d very much like to continue with building up Huddersfield.

Saint-Etienne had previous thrashed Hoffenheim by five goals to one. They had also lost 5-0 to Fiorentina in their first fixture of the group stage. Considering this, I fielded a side of our current strongest players to see what little we could salvage with the prize being a win.

Aaron Mooy’s penalty after a dodgy tackle commited by Yann M’Vila was the first chance Huddersfield had during the game. A tidy strike down the middle sent the ball past Jessy Moulín. Saint-Etienne soon struggled to put the passes in and conceded possession in dangerous areas twice to extend out lead one more through a headed effort from Terence Kongolo. Ramadan Sobhi tapped home yet another blunder by Yann M’Vila to cement our dominance. The stroke of half-time saw Jonas Lössl slip on the touchline and Christopher Schindler block a convincing effort from Charles Abi. From there on in, we dominated once more. Philip Billing saw a low attempt sweep inside the bottom right corner of the Saint-Etienne goal before a quick follow-up header from Juninho Bacuna cemented an extremely promising result. With the full-time whistle we managed to qualify for the semi-finals of the European Shield pre-season tournament.

Final Score

Huddersfield 5-0 Saint-Etienne

Mooy ‘13 (pen); Kongolo ‘33; Sobhi ‘40, Billing ‘67, Bacuna ‘70.

Statistics (HUD LEFT | ETI RIGHT)

  • Goals: 5 | 0
  • Shots: 14 | 6
  • Shots on Target: 13 | 2
  • Possession: 54% | 46%
  • Tackles: 31 | 42
  • Fouls: 2 | 11
  • Yellow/Red Cards: 1/0 | 4/0
  • Corners: 7 | 9
  • Shot Accuracy: 93% | 33%
  • Pass Accuracy: 84% | 87%

Player Review (Huddersfield Only)

Jonas Lössl (6.9): An occasional meander from Saint-Etienne challenged Lössl’s abilities ever so often during the game. Despite his match rating, many of Lössl’s blunders and poorly timed dives for the ball were blocked by the strong defensive line. Barely challenged and as such was unable to prove his true abilities during the match.

Tommy Smith (7.6): Contrary to his last outing against Hoffenheim, Smith dictated the defence and made sure that Saint-Etienne’s abrasive midfield had few opportunities to break away into a dangerous attack.

Christopher Schindler (7.2): Played with solidarity and put in some extremely clean but meaty tackles. A starting player should we want to maintain a strong defensive line.

Philip Billing (8.4): Although more suited a role as a defensive midfielder, Billing worked wonders in the centre of defence. His heading ability and perception are on another level. Should he prove this good throughout the season, I see no reason why Billing cannot become a vital component of the Huddersfield team.

Terence Kongolo (8.8): Extremely solid, strong on and off the ball and a true aerial threat. I’m very wary of his abilities and 

Chris Löwe (7.6): Exceptional on and off the ball. Versatile enough to hold and then press deep into enemy territory, but his ability in the air is poor.

Jonathan Hogg (6.6): Perhaps not fitting into a more central role in the midfielder. Offers are pending from Derby County and Cardiff so Hogg may well be on his way to a team which better suits his playing style.

Juninho Bacuna (7.3): A real emerging talent and a player who has surprised me during pre-season with his blistering pace and raw talent for lobbing the ball over even the most resilient defenders. This game saw Bacuna land two assists. Should he continue to progress in this way, there’s no reason not to include him in the team.

Ramadan Sobhi (7.5): Perhaps off the touch a little too often for a player of his quality. Nonetheless, Sobhi looks to be more than capable of getting the job done.

Aaron Mooy (8.2): As in the previous two fixtures, Mooy was brilliant. He has a keen eye for the ball at all times and will be sure to solidify a strong midfield on the first day of the season.

Steve Mounié (7.1): Good enough, but doesn’t create enough goalscoring opportunities. Where Mounié finds the ball at his feet he is quick enough to lay it off to the likes of Mooy as his finishing touch is absolutely atrocious. Either way he needs to step up to succeed.

Erik Durm (6.3): Not quite up to pace. A bit of an unfortunate downturn in my expectations of him. Durm can do the general defensive rigmarole but he lacks the all-rounder qualities of some of his counterparts. A rotation player perhaps in the season to come pending form.

Alex Pritchard (7.0): Looked fairly good after being subbed on at half time. A few interceptions here and there but that was about it from Pritchard.

Collin Quaner (6.5): Neither here nor there during his short spell on the pitch. Quaner didn’t look too threatening nor did he put in a strong enough effort to make runs up the field in either direction. A potential loan spell away from Huddersfield would probably be beneficial, alas I can see him being a sporadic player.

General Review

We played some extremely promising football in this game. Whilst the scoreline is high, it does over exceed how well we played. In other words, Huddersfield were extremely lucky. By a miracle we progress on to another game, this time against Braga. We were lucky in this regard too. Whatever comes our way against Braga it is clear that the team is more than capable of playing at a decent level, if inconsistently.

We gained a figure of £1.144m in tournament prize money for progressing to the semi-finals of this pre-season ‘European Shield’ competition. I intend to invest this into scouting some youth players who can, in turn, be sent out on loan for experience. The academy is crucial to our success, so starting from the ground up should be the way forwards. Having said that, the hunt for experienced new players continues.

Edited by Walker
Spelling Mistakes.

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For anyone who is reading this: from here on in I’ll be adopting a simplified format. As opposed to offering a match report and my opinion on aspects of the matches, I shall instead be offering more statistics. Numbers speak louder than anything in football so, true to this, I intend to adopt a more numerical and statistical approach.

Edited by Walker

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The following post will include the results of two matches; our European Shield semi-final match against Nice and our European Shield final match against Bologna. The pre-match report will incorporate the occurences in the space after our 5-0 win against Saint-Etienne and will conclude at the point before the match against Bologna occurs.

Pre-Match Analyses

As of the date of our Bologna fixture, no transfers have been made.

Ilias Kachunga's £3m sale to FC Basel fell through as personal terms could not be agreed. Steve Mounié has drawn interest from both Marseille and RB Leipzig, both of whom are willing to pay £16m for the 23-year-old's services. I intend to see if any other offers come in before accepting one of the offers should they still stand on the table. Laurent Depoitre saw himself on the way to Barcelona of all places for £8m, but the deal fell through after personal terms came to a standstill. As a positive, Danny Williams is looking likely to secure a transfer away to Lille for £1.6m. More transfer offers are what I really want, but alas they have yet to really emerge.

With regards to transfers into the club, our endeavours so far have been fruitless. An offer of £4m was rejected by Toulouse for Yaya Sanogo and all leads have been cut off. Our search for goalkeeper has led me to identify Jack Butland as a potential contender for the No. 1 jersey. A £16m offer for Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels came to a halt following excessive wage demands. Alternative options which I have excluded are Montpellier's second-choice goalkeeper Jonathan Ligali and Napoli's Alex Meret, both of whom refused to negotiate. Of the three current candidates for the goalkeeper spot, Jack Butland looks the most likely candidate. Should I be able to figure out another strong option I will make a reasonable bid. I won't be spending more than £15m on a goalkeeper unless they are exceptional. Sampdoria's Omar Colley and Milan's Alessio Romagnoli are looking like tasty candidates for a starting role in central defence. Galatasaray's Norwegian right-back Martin Linnes looks as though he could be the perfect player for the position with a release clause of £6.9m and a promising array of defensive stats. Midfield isn't on the agenda just yet, however I know that Everton's Morgan Schneiderlin is a player who I have been fond of for some time and would love to have playing in the Huddersfield colours. My only attacking want so far is Tammy Abraham, who may be a difficult player to sign but would definitely be worth it. It's also worth noting that I've been looking top invest in young players to bring through the ranks. I currently have my eyes of the Championship for home-grown players with a potential to perform at a high level and also at more off-the-radar clubs like Dinamo Zagreb and AEK Athens. Should these players prove themselves whilst making sporadic appearances during the season, I can't see why they can't challenge the old guard for their places.

It turns out that Christopher Schindler will be out for both games after breaking his toe. I don't know how as he performed solidly throughout our tie against Saint-Etienne. Other than this, we have every player on the roster available at our discretion.

 

European Shield Semi-Final: Match Four

Huddersfield Team Sheet: (5-4-1 FLAT) Lössl (6.2); Smith (6.7), Barrett (6.0), Billing (7.2), Kongolo (6.5), Löwe (6.8); Hogg (c) (6.5), Bacuna (7.4), Mooy (7.9), Pritchard (6.8) ;Mounié (6.4).

Hamer; Durm (‘45) (6.7), Edmonds-Green; van la Parra, O'Brien, Payne (‘66) (5.2); Diakhaby (‘66) (7.6).

Nice Team Sheet: (3-5-2) Cardinale; Dante, Lloris, Jallet (c); Ranieri, Cyprien, Tameze, Walter, Saint-Maximin; Ganago, Le Bihan.

Hassen; Souquet, Perraud; Danilo, Lees-Melou, Mahou; Sacko

Final Score

Huddersfield 2-0 Nice

Mooy ‘45+2; Diakhaby '78

Statistics (HUD LEFT | OGC RIGHT)

  • Goals: 2 | 0
  • Shots: 7 | 14
  • Shots on Target: 7 | 6
  • Possession: 48% | 52%
  • Tackles: 16 | 24
  • Fouls: 5 | 2
  • Yellow/Red Cards: 0/0 | 0/0
  • Corners: 3 | 2
  • Shot Accuracy: 100% | 43%
  • Pass Accuracy: 77% | 91%

European Shield Final: Match Five

Huddersfield Team Sheet: (5-4-1 FLAT) Lössl (5.1); Smith (6.2), Billing (6.0), Edmonds-Green (4.7), Kongolo (6.9), Durm (6.0); Hogg (c) (6.3), Bacuna (6.6), Depoitre (7.0), Pritchard (6.8) ;Mounié (5.8).

Hamer; Löwe, Edmonds-Green; van la Parra, Payne; Quaner, Diakhaby.

Bologna Team Sheet: (4-3-1-2) Da Costa (c); Mbaye, Helander, De Maio, Dijks; Poli, Pulgar, Donsah, Dzemaili; Lavezzi, Palacio.

Santurro; Danilo, Calabresi; Nagy, Valencia, Svanberg; Destro.

Final Score

Huddersfield 0-2 Bologna

Lavezzi '4, '65

Statistics (HUD LEFT | BOL RIGHT)

  • Goals: 0 | 2
  • Shots: 5 | 9
  • Shots on Target: 3 | 6
  • Possession: 50% | 50%
  • Tackles: 13 | 18
  • Fouls: 7 | 6
  • Yellow/Red Cards: 2/0 | 2/0
  • Corners: 5 | 5
  • Shot Accuracy: 60% |  66%
  • Pass Accuracy: 81% | 87%

 

General Review

Despite failing to win the pre-season European Shield competition, I am extremely please albeit shocked. I had fully expected us to tumble out against Saint-Etienne. We won't get so lucky during the upcoming season. Our win against Nice proves that we can win. Our loss to Bologna shows that we can't take results for granted. At the end of the day we won an additional 2.64m in prize money from our semi-final win but no additional funds from our loss to Bologna in the final. I intend to have all transfers into Huddersfield completed by the time of our first fixture of the Premier League season. The next update shall be regarding transfers into the club, and show it prove as fruitful as I intend, there should be some world-class talents and upcoming prospects coming in. Hopefully they can shift our season in the right direction from the offset, alas only time will tell.

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