Huddersfield Town enjoyed a fairytale promotion into the Premier League last season but their survival in the top flight could depend on Saturday’s clash against Watford. The Terriers sit in 16th spot on the table with 32 points, only four points above 18th placed Southampton, while the Hornets are in relative safety in 12th spot on 37 points.
Despite the gap, Huddersfield enjoy a good record over their southern rivals. In December, the last time the two clubs met, the Terriers pulled off a devastating 4-1 win at Vicarage Road. The last time Watford travelled to the Johns Smith’s Stadium, in January 2015, they were beaten 3-1. David Wagner’s side have won three out of the past four matches between the two teams.
But after failing to record a win since the 2-1 victory over West Brom in February, Huddersfield are desperate for the full three points. They have not secured a Premier League win in nearly two months and have struggled to score goals, notching only two in their past six games. Saturday’s fixture has all the makings of a relegation decider.
Watford head into the game with serious form problems of their own. They have three defeats in their past four matches, their last victory coming against West Brom on March 3. The Hornets have severe injury problems to deal with, as Gerard Deulofeu is out with a broken foot. There are also severe doubts over whether Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Younes Kaboul and Christian Kabasele will be fit to play on Saturday.
Club boss Javier Gracia has only been in charge since January when Marco Silva was sacked. His tenure has been underwhelming so far. The Spaniard has only won three of his 10 matches at the helm of Watford and the London club has yet to win an away game under Gracia’s watch.
Huddersfield’s final four fixtures after this one are extremely tough – Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, further emphasizing how important this match is. If the Terriers don’t win this game then their Premier League status for 2018-2019 might as well be kissed goodbye, as they may not get another victory and will need to rely on other results. Lose and they could need a miracle to stay up.
With one of the smallest budgets in the division and after decades of mediocrity, Huddersfield’s rise to the Premier League was the stuff of dreams. Wagner, formerly Jurgen Klopp’s assistant at Borussia Dortmund, was the man who masterminded their promotion to much surprise of the the football betting world.
They have defied the odds with a brilliant start last year, including an upset over Manchester United, and keeping the Terriers up would cement the German’s reputation as one of the best young managers in world football. They will likely face Watford without the services of Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams and Michael Hefele. The scoring onus will be squarely on the likes of Steve Mounie and Alex Pritchard.
Despite being evenly matched and both eager to avoid being dragged into the drop zone, Huddersfield’s home advantage is a clear factor. A buoyant west Yorkshire crowd will have its role to play in getting its team over the line. Considering what is at stake, backing the draw 11/5 with William Hill is appealing, with Ladbrokes offering 21/10.
Watford will not be short of motivation knowing a victory would get them to 40 points and seemingly safe for another Premier League campaign. But ignore the tenacious Terriers, and their wily manager Wagner, at your peril. William Hill are offering 13/8 for a home team win while in contrast Labrokes have just 8/5 for a Terriers victory.
The offer of 11/4 for Huddersfield to win and Mounie to score at some of the new online bookies is a punt worth considering. The striker is the club’s top-scorer this season with seven goals, two more than teammate Laurent Depoitre. A club record transfer fee of £11.5 million from Nimes in the off-season, Mounie’s first Premier League campaign has been solid.
With Kachunga limited to only 19 appearances, Mounie has led the frontline well. Some of the top football betting sites have odds of 7/2 for the Benin international as the first goal-scorer and 6/5 to strike at any time. Aaron Mooy is another Huddersfield star who has excelled in his debut Premier League season. After helping the Terriers go up from the Championship and winning a swag of awards on the way, the Australian has continued to amaze and impress.
A box-to-box midfielder who can create, score and defend, his varied passing ability makes him a real threat. Mooy has bagged four goals and three assists this season, a fair return from a deep-lying midfielder. With William Hill giving 9/1 for the 27-year-old as first or last scorer, and 10/3 odds to hit the back of the net anytime, the Sydneysider is an attractive option.
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