Home Matchday Live Post-Match Analysis: Re-finding identity in the face of Adversity

Post-Match Analysis: Re-finding identity in the face of Adversity

during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion at John Smith's Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Huddersfield, England.

Since Town’s shock promotion, David Wagner has had to learn quickly that his side has to be adaptable and willing to deviate from their ardent philosophy when facing some of the Premier League giants.

This was the case at Anfield when Town set up for a point. 

However, after a non-performance against Liverpool, questions were being asked about whether or not Town were suffering from a crisis of identity.

After a disappointing away performance, the focus was on how Town and David Wagner would respond particularly in a crucial home fixture against a low on confidence West Brom side.

Even before the game kicked off, from the team selection alone, it was apparent that David Wagner and his side wouldn’t be resting on their laurels.

The decision to revert back to the 4-2-3-1 formation, the formation that Town’s success last season was built upon proved to be an inspired one.

Last season, it was often the full-backs who were the main instigators going forwards and the inclusion of Scott Malone and Florent Hadergjonaj as a dynamic forward-thinking pairing was testament to that.

Similarly, last season’s success was built on a midfield partnership of Aaron Mooy and Jonathan Hogg and like the selection of full-backs, David Wagner returned to that pairing to dominate the midfield of the park.

From the first minute, this team selection and change of shape saw Town’s identity on the pitch return.

Not only were Town dominating possession and territory, they were pressing high and playing fast fluid open expansive football which had been absent in previous weeks.

It was this relative freedom that the players had which saw Town play one of their best halves of Premier League football since their promotion in May. This was a product of the change in formation.

This freedom was best demonstrated by both full-backs. Both Scott Malone and Florent Hadergjonaj stood out due to their positivity and willingness to bomb forwards at every given opportunity.

However, after such a positive first half, the second half took a different direction when Christopher Schindler was sent off in the 58th minute.

Until then, Town had predominantly played on the front foot but they were now on the back-foot and reeling as they faced the adversary of having to play over half an hour with just ten men.

In spite of this, the ‘Terrier identity’ was on show again as Town showed a resilience and never say die attitude which served them so well last season.

The final demonstration of the return of Town’s identity was the faith that Wagner showed in his squad. After Schindler’s sending off, Martin Cranie was called upon for his first Premier League appearance of the season.

Despite only playing a bit part role for Town over the course of the past two seasons, Cranie showed that he was a reliable option to come into the side as he helped carry Town over the line for three vital points.

In response to questions that were beginning to be asked, we certainly saw a return of Town’s identity which was indicative of David Wagner’s personality and philosophy.

There was a togetherness and unity, not only of the players but also the fans, which created an atmosphere to enable the team to drag themselves over the line.

It was this togetherness, combined with excellent game management which saw Town grind out a crucial victory in extremely difficult circumstances. 

This return of Town’s identity in the face of adversity will certainly give David Wagner and his men a boost of confidence going into the international break as they plot ahead of their tricky trip to Dean Court.


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