The new season is just around the corner and the excitement of new arrivals is increasing. However, with the World Cup in full swing to whet our footballing appetite, we thought we would use this time to reflect on last season.
Throughout the rollercoaster ride, we chose one moment that was either memorable or defining to offer a true reflection on a season with a number of high and low moments.
This first part reflects on the opening two months of the season as Town quickly acclimatised to their return to the top flight of English football for the first time in forty-five years.
Palace (A) – Steve Mounie announces himself on the big stage
Heading into the new season, the trip to Selhurst Park was simply an extension of the promotion party. At this stage, it still felt like a distant dream that would be abruptly interrupted.
Instead, the excitement and optimism bubbled over and we now awaited our first match in the top flight of English football in over forty-five years.
In a somewhat new-look Huddersfield Town outfit, it was one man who stood out above the rest (quite literally) and that was Steve Mounie.
Having spent the dizzying amount of £11.5 million, a record-breaking transfer fee, Mounié was very much Town’s marquee signing of the summer.
It took twenty-six minutes for Steve Mounié to announce himself on the biggest stage of them all.
After Aaron Mooy found space on the left flank, his perfectly weighted cross found Steve Mounié who seemingly had the freedom of Selhurst Park to emphatically plant his header past a despairing Wayne Hennessey.
A defining moment that ensured that Huddersfield Town’s return to the top flight of English football would begin with a comprehensive victory.
It was a debut brace that will live long in the memories of that packed away stand on a sun-kissed afternoon in London. Not only that, it was enough to catapult Town to the top of the table, albeit for just twenty-four hours.
Newcastle (H) – Town’s first Premier League goal at the John Smith Stadium
In what was a tight and cagey encounter between the two newly promoted sides, it was always going to be decided by either a moment or magic or a mistake.
It came in the form of the latter.
The defining moment came in the fiftieth minute. Town constructed a fluid, expansive passing move which was enough to open up an extremely well-organised and disciplined Newcastle United side.
After twelve passes, the ball found its way to Chris Lowe on the left-hand flank. Almost instantaneously, he laid the ball into Aaron Mooy’s path and that was when the Australian playmaker’s moment of magic began.
He strode forward before playing a deliciously disguised reverse pass to Elias Kachunga, a perfectly weighted pass completed the one-two which allowed Mooy to bend his strike into the top corner before Newcastle’s static defence had the chance to react.
It was a goal befitting of winning any game. It ensured that Huddersfield Town would be only the third newly promoted side to win their first two matches in a Premier League season.
Southampton (H) – A Narrow Escape
Town’s first real challenge came in their third fixture of the season when Maurio Pellegrino’s unbeaten Southampton side rolled into town.
After the comfortable victories against an out of sorts Crystal Palace side and a familiar face in Newcastle United, Town came into the contest with bundles of confidence and positive momentum on their side.
Southampton, on the other hand, were an established Premier League side and the quality they had on the field was more than enough to test a resolute Town outfit.
In an open end-to-end affair, the defining moment came relatively early on.
With neat interplay and intelligent movement, a flowing move in the eleventh minute carved open the Town defence and it looked destined that Town would finally concede.
However, Nathan Redmond who had and continued to be a livewire throughout the game did not have the composure or the precision to find the side netting with his cultured effort.
Instead, to the anguish of the one-time capped England international, he placed the ball an inch to the right of the far post in what would’ve been a match-defining moment.
West Ham (A) – The last team in the Premier League to concede
With West Ham United at the foot of the table and the tension mounting on West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic, it was always going to be a tightly contested battle with an unbeaten Town who had still yet to concede.
The direct and physical nature of West Ham seemed to be far too much for Town to cope with. However, after surviving a first half onslaught, it seemed that their character and resilience would be repaid with a bitterly hard-fought point.
Instead, a defining moment did arrive in the 72nd minute. As Town began to grow into the game and looked capable of snatching a late winner, they were dealt a cruel body blow.
A speculative and quite desperate effort from Pedro Obiang with the aid of an enormous deflection off Town centre-half Zanka looped onto the inside of the post beyond Jonas Lossl’s despairing dive and into the goal.
Not only was it a defining moment as it was the goal that decided the outcome of the game, it was also the first time that Town conceded since their return to the top flight. It saw them become the last team in the Premier League to concede.
Leicester City (H) – Laurent Depoitre’s introduction to the Premier League
Ask any Huddersfield Town fan now and one of their most popular players will undoubtedly be Laurent Depoitre. The Belgian striker over the course of the season has garnered a cult hero status.
However, it is easy to forget that the Belgian powerhouse was not even in Town’s squad, never mind the matchday set-up, for the first month of the season.
After Steve Mounié was sidelined with a heel injury, Laurent Depoitre got a chance to introduce himself to the Premier League and he did not disappoint.
Following a dominant first half display from Town, the defining moment of the match came within a minute of the second half beginning.
On the counter-attack from a Leicester City corner, Abdelhamid Sabiri’s well-measured through-ball found Laurent Depoitre in acres of space.
In a one on one battle with England centre half Harry Maguire, there was only going to be one winner.
After Depoitre brushed off Maguire with ease, Depoitre then showed the composure of a seasoned veteran to squeeze the ball past Kasper Schmeichel to send the Town faithful into delirium.
It may have been his first notable contribution for Town but it would be far from his last.
Burnley (A) – Christopher Schindler’s goal-saving block
Whilst Sean Dyche’s Burnley had proved to be the surprise early pace setters in the Premier League, Huddersfield Town rolled into town looking to add to their excellent start to life in the Premier League.
The tussle at Turf Moor was far from a classic but there was one defining moment.
In a tight cagey first half encounter, the home side did look the more likely side to potentially break the deadlock. On numerous occasions, Sean Dyche’s side had threatened to cut through Town’s defence.
It was the interplay between Robbie Brady and his Irish compatriot Stephen Ward which looked particularly dangerous. In the thirty-seventh minute, it appeared it would lead to the opening goal.
As a clipped pass over the top from Brady found Stephen Ward in acres of space, it looked for all the world that his low cross would be tapped in by Chris Wood who was ready to pounce in the six-yard box.
However, there was one last line of defence. With athleticism, anticipation, and awareness, Christopher Schindler’s lunging block salvaged Town a priceless point as he swatted away the imminent danger.
Tottenham Hotspur (H) – Harry Kane’s standing ovation
Whilst Town had suffered defeat at the hands of West Ham United, the magnitude of the task on hand wasn’t realised until Town faced Tottenham Hotspur and an in-form Harry Kane.
The transition from the Championship to the Premier League had been a somewhat seamless one. However, the performance of Tottenham Hotspur and an inspired display from England forward Harry Kane demonstrated just how steep the divide was between the top six and everyone else.
In just twenty-three minutes, Harry Kane had single-handedly taken the game away from Town with two superb finishes demonstrating his clinical edge and why there was no room for error against opposition of this calibre.
However, the stand-out moment wasn’t his goals or the four that Tottenham Hotspur scored on the day. It was the gesture shown by the Town fans in the 87th minute.
When Harry Kane was substituted by Mauricio Pocchetino for Heung-Min Son, Town fans rose to their feet to applaud the striker who had been unplayable at times.
Harry Kane's goalscoring form at the moment is incredible. 🔥
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) September 30, 2017
It was not a decisive moment nor one that had long-term repercussions but it was a memorable moment; a moment where allegiances fell to one side, for a split second and there was an acknowledgment of a world-class performance.