These are the games that we, as Huddersfield Town fans, looked to when the fixture list got announced. That first quick skim of the fixture list to find that first ‘big six’ game as they’re now hyperbolically called and finding out when the excitement would ramp up in the town even higher.
This is a game which other teams, fans and commentators will use as some form of yardstick for how we will do this season. This reason often seems moronic to me as pretty much most of the teams below 6th place will lose both their home and away games to everyone above 6th place, rendering these comparisons meaningless.
If you do scrape a point or, whisper it quietly, even beat a top six team, the likely outcome is football twitter collapsing followed by meltdowns on that teams fan channel for a solid 48 hours.
Both Manchester clubs have knocked most teams outside their monopoly for four or in Watford’s case, six and Spurs have started to click into gear as well, smashing Stoke at the Britannia for four as well.
However, with the exception of the Manchester clubs, the rest do have glaring vulnerabilities, particularly in defence with even Spurs’ once imperious defensive record coming under scrutiny even this early on into the season. It’s just a shame we can’t seem to score more than one goal at the moment.
Manager David Wagner will be confident in expecting a sold-out John Smith’s Stadium to greet the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli & company and will be hoping for an elevated performance to the one that grinded out a valuable point at Turf Moor against Burnley.
Of all the Spurs players who could terrify me, it is Kane which makes my body pass multiple metaphorical bricks. After having his now customary goal-scoring nap in August, he has promptly made up for lost time by putting the ball in the onion bag an obscene amount of times in the last few weeks, the latest being a hat-trick against a hapless Apoel Nicosia side in the Champions League.
Criticism of Kane over the last couple of years has usually come from other top six teams fans who are either jealous of not having him as their own star forward or plastic fans who seem to enjoy tearing down rising English talent but big up bang average foreign imports (I’m looking at you Nacho Monreal, Mohamed El Neny, Nicola Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala).
After finally shutting up the latest counter-argument that “he won’t be able to deliver in the Champions League”, Kane is looking ominous and seems to have an absolute insane ability to score with almost every shot he has.
If Town are to get anything from this game, Christopher Schindler will have to have another titanic performance against him. If he does, then you can bet if people weren’t talking about him before as a £50m defender, they will be after Saturday.
A few Town fans seemed to be a bit miffed that we only got a point against Burnley. This is despite their win against Chelsea and draws against Spurs and Liverpool.
Burnley as a club are who we should aspire to be: a well-run established Premier League club with a humble and loyal fanbase and a manager who bleeds for the club and is honest, straight-talking and passionate. Reminds me of someone else who’s close to our hearts.
I for one was thoroughly pleased with the point. A lot of teams will go to Turf Moor and lose this season and to show the character that we did and the hard-work we put in will be better rewarded during the course of the season. We do however, have to learn to start scoring more goals.
Steve Mounié’s absence has not helped matters but the wide players and no 10 have to contribute more to our goals tally to help the likes of Mounie and Depoitre if we are to win games in the Premier League.
In the Championship, we could get away with it but defences in this league are better and we have to up our game. I do think this will happen as the big occasion will motivate the players but it’s not as simple as us upping our game, it’s matching Spurs as well.
Christopher Schindler vs Harry Kane
The match-up that I never thought would be spoken in my life as a Town fan.
On Saturday, our German talisman and vice-captain Chris Schindler will have the task of marking one of the best forwards currently in the world right now.
Kane’s football intelligence, under-rated pace and elite marksmanship will test Schindler’s capabilities to his very limit.
If we are to get even a point from this game, Schindler will have to put in the performance of a life-time.
Laurent Depoitre vs Toby Aldereiweld
Widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world, Toby Aldereiweld was an absolute steal for Tottenham when they bought him for £11.4m from Athleuco Madrid in 2015.
He has everything you want from a centre-back; commanding in the air, strong, athletic, a leader and a phenomenal passer of a ball for someone in his position.
Laurent Depoitre had a largely quiet game against Burnley after his outstanding debut against Leicester but he will need to take every chance he gets against this Spurs defence and against Aldereiweld.
If you don’t take your chances in this league, it will come back to haunt you so we and Depoitre must be ruthless when we get an opening.
Aaron Mooy vs Eric Dier
With both Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele absent, the midfield battle between Town and Spurs on Saturday afternoon could be very interesting.
Already this season, despite only being six games in, it is clear to see just how influential Aaron Mooy is for Town as seemingly everything goes through him.
It is likely that Mauricio Pocchetino will choose an urothodox midfield pairing of Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko, Aaron Mooy will be fancying his chances of having some joy against the pair.
More than likely, if Mauricio Pocchetino has being doing his homework on Town, Eric Dier will be tasked with man-marking Aaron Mooy and attempting to subdue his influence, particularly in the final third.
If Town are to spring a surprise on Saturday, it will more than likely come through some brilliance from Town’s Aussie playmaker.
Abdelhamid Sabiri vs Jan Vertonghen
After his excellent performance on debut against Burnley which culminated in an assist, Sabiri will be hoping for an equally impressive display on Saturday.
In front of the Sky Sports cameras, Sabiri will face a seasoned veteran Premier League defender in Belgian Jan Vertonghen.
Vertonghen is not every fan’s cup of tea and his spikiness and edginess will no doubt produce some ire from the Town faithful on Saturday.
Sabiri will have to use all his guile and cunning to provoke a mistake from the Belgian and take advantage when he does.
Here is our predicted line-up for the early afternoon clash.
Stats to look out for
- Huddersfield Town have lost only two of their 17 top-flight home games against Tottenham (W10, D5).
- The Terriers last beat Tottenham in April 1956, recording a 2-1 away win in the top flight.
- Town have kept four clean sheets in six league games. They are the first newly-promoted side to achieve this since Blackburn Rovers in 1992.
- If they keep a clean sheet against Spurs they will equal the top-flight record for the fewest goals conceded by a promoted club after seven games.
- Aaron Mooy has created 14 goalscoring chances in the Premier League this season, twice as many as any of his team-mates.
- Tottenham have won 13 consecutive Premier League matches against newly-promoted sides.
- Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last five top-flight away games.
- Kane has also netted 20 goals in his last 16 league appearances against promoted teams.
- Kane scored and was then sent off at the John Smith’s Stadium in February 2011, while on loan at Leyton Orient.
If we’re being brutally honest, most rational Town fans won’t be expecting anything from this game, particularly in the form that Harry Kane is in but if we can show our Terrier identity and match Spurs’ pressing game and intensity, there is no reason why we couldn’t cause another upset to ruffle the feathers of the Premier League cabal.