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Season 2017-18
Huddersfield Town (a) Premier League


Sunday 20th August 2017, 1.30pm
Live on Sky Sports

 John Smith's Stadium

Conditions: downbeat

Programme: £3.50

Huddersfield Town

Newcastle United

1 - 0




Half time: Terriers 0 Magpies 0

50 mins Mikel Merino's weak attempt to stop Aaron Mooy allowed to take a return pass from Elias Kachunga and beat Rob Elliot with a curling effort from just inside the box at the south end of the stadium. The Australian had netted from the penalty spot back in March at the same end 0-1

Full time: Terriers 1 Magpies 0

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"You cannot make too many mistakes in the Premier League. We made one mistake, gave Mooy too much time on the ball and we conceded.

"You have to take your chances. We tried to create more chances after the Matt Ritchie effort. The reaction from the team was good to going behind.

"We are at the beginning and we have to keep going. The only way to improve is to train harder.

"I'm obviously disappointed. We have some little problems in defence, with not too many players, and we have to manage.

"They did well for a while, and we conceded because we gave them too much time on the ball. After that we were quite positive, but it's a learning process for us.

"It is a learning process for us, and hopefully we can learn quickly. That is how it is at the moment. Maybe it is too soon for us. It will take some time for sure.

"I am sure we will improve. We will need time, but I am sure we can improve.

"We started the game controlling things a little bit when they were pressing, But it doesn’t matter if you are well organised, pressing and working very hard – you have to score goals. 

"You cannot concede if you want to get results in the Premier League, or any division, but especially when you are playing in the top division.

"There is nothing to say about transfers at the moment, there is no news. I haven’t seen the latest names (linked with Newcastle) - we have to wait. 

"Obviously, we are working behind the scenes trying to do things, but I do not know what our position is at the moment.

"We will see what happens, it's still 11 days, but I don't see an easy window yet."


They Said

David Wagner:

"Everything is quicker and more intense but I never had any doubt about our fitness or quality.

"We were one of the fittest teams in the Championship and I have no doubt we will be one of the fittest in the Premier League.

"We play a high intensity style of football and we need rotation too. We will stick to what we have done before.

About goalscorer Mooy:


"He was one of our priorities after promotion. We signed him very early and as we started planning in the play-offs he always gave us the impression he would be willing to sign. He likes the club and the dressing room.

"Aaron doesn't say much or smile a lot but he is very happy and proud. He deserves all the credit for the goal but also for his performance. He has great technical ability and defensive qualities. He is very unusual and that's why I like this player.

"It was proper Premier League. I asked for something extraordinary and the supporters delivered that. I am very pleased the players were able to pay them back with the three points. This helps us for sure.

"If anyone knows that everything is possible in football it is this club after last season. Of course I did not expect it. We only want to be brave in every single game and we have done it so far.

"We are very happy we have put points on the board and we are not lucky, we deserved the points.

"This was a very strong performance from my team, especially from the defence. I am delighted with the workload of the players. Every player was responsible for defensive work."



Terriers tests - last 10 away games:

2017/18 lost 0-1
won 3-1 Ritchie, Murphy, Gayle

drew 2-2 Beardsley, Mills
1971/72 drew 0-0
1970/71 drew 1-1 Smith
1964/65 won 1-0 McGarry
1963/64 lost 0-3
1962/63 lost 1-2 Penman
1961/62 lost 1-2 White
1955/56 won 6-2 Keeble 4, Crowe, White

Full record v Huddersfield Town:

  P W D L F A
SJP 29 12 8 9 53 41
LR/JS 30 12 6 12 42 42
League 59 24 14 21 95 83
SJP(FA) 2 1 0 1 2 1
LR 1 0 1 0 1 1
SJP(LC) 1 1 0 0 4 3
LR 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cup 4 2 1 1 7 5
Tot 63 26 15 22 102 88

United have no points from a possible six in a Premier League season for the first time since 1999/00, when a 0-1 home loss to Aston Villa came ahead of a 1-3 loss away to Spurs.

Two defeats without scoring is the worst start to any Newcastle season since the 1981/82 campaign, when a 0-1 home defeat by Watford was followed by a 0-3 loss at QPR in Division Two. 

The only other season we matched that "feat" was in 1937/38 - also in the second tier. In other words, United have never started a top-flight season by losing twice without finding the net. 

Since the last meeting of these clubs here in March, both sides have re-jigged their squads. Only four Newcastle players started both games -  Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie and Atsu - while Gayle and Diame played some part in both. Town meanwhile fared slightly better; six players starting in March and August and two playing some part in both games.

There were competitive debuts for Jacob Murphy and Joselu, while Mo Diame made his top-flight bow for the club. That extends the total of players representing us in the PL to 218

Rafa Benitez is still searching for a maiden away win in the top flight as Newcastle boss, having drawn two and lost the other four games on the road including the tail end of the 2015/16 season.

United now haven't won a Premier League game away from SJP since a 2-1 success against Spurs at White Hart Lane back in December 2015 - a run of 12 games (ten defeats and two draws). 

Huddersfield Town became the 47th different club that United have come up against in the PL, while
The John Smiths Stadium is the 54th different venue.

The Magpies wore their all-black third kit for the first time in a competitive game.

Jonjo Shelvey served the first of his three game suspension following last week's red card, while injury accounted for the non-appearance of messrs Yedlin, Dummett and Lejeune.

Our opening Premier League away fixture of the season has resulted in twelve defeats, six draws and five victories as follows (final league position in brackets).

1993/94 Coventry City lost 1-2 (3rd)
1994/95 Leicester City won 3-1 (6th)
1995/96 Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 (2nd)
1996/97 Everton lost 0-2 (2nd)
1997/98 West Ham won 1-0 (13th)
1998/99 Chelsea drew 1-1 (13th)
1999/00 Spurs lost 1-3 (11th)
2000/01 Manchester United lost 0-2 (11th)
2001/02 Chelsea drew 1-1 (4th)
2002/03 Manchester City lost 0-1 (3rd)
2003/04 Leeds United drew 2-2 (5th)
2004/05 smoggies drew 2-2 (14th)
2005/06 Arsenal lost 0-2 (7th)
2006/07 Aston Villa lost 0-2 (13th)
2007/08 Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 (12th)
2008/09 Manchester United drew 1-1 (18th)
2010/11 Manchester United lost 0-3 (12th)
2011/12 mackems won 1-0 (5th)
2012/13 Chelsea lost 0-2 (16th)
2013/14 Manchester City lost 0-4 (10th)
2014/15 Aston Villa drew 0-0 (15th)
2015/16 Swansea City lost 0-2 (18th)
2017/18 Huddersfield Town lost 0-2 (??)

(Failing to find the net at Fulham in the first game of our 2016/17 Championship season means that the last time we scored a goal in our opening away game was Ryan Taylor's "over the wall" one at the mackems in 2011). 





It's less than four months since Newcastle claimed the Championship title - with Huddersfield left back in fifth, ahead of securing their own eventual promotion via the playoffs.

That all seems like an age ago though, and while the Terriers looked united and collectively ready to embrace the challenge today, the Magpies have at best lost momentum - and at worst look as if they've learnt nothing from their second relegation and return under the current owner.   

Mike Ashley will need to have another look down the back of his sofa for some cash to back manager Rafa Benitez or he is set to lose hundreds of millions of his beloved pounds.

This side, as it stands, will be relegated back to the Championship unless two or three quality players are brought in before the transfer deadline closes.

No 70% discount deals from the bargain bucket or loans but genuine Premier League pedigree players that can help Benitez do his job and establish the club back in the top flight.

Anything else makes no financial sense.

This is obvious to anyone NOW - don't look back after relegation and say to Sky "with the benefit of hindsight"

The unpalatable reality though is that it's already too late: the damage was done by not backing the manager at the start of the window in the quest to save a few quid. Any deals done now are almost for the sake of it - window dressing for want of a better expression.

United were outplayed and beaten by a Town side that has been strengthened in the right places from the play-off winners by a smart manager backed by the owner.

Not because their Chairman has the wealth of a small country but because he is smart enough to realise when investment pays off. Just like when Ashley managed to find £200m to back a building development in his beloved Chelsea.

Is Terriers' owner Dean Hoyle richer, smarter or just a better businessman than Ashley? Probably all three - if one swallows his "wallpaper" claim about not having access to cash. (Hoyle) made his millions in bloody greeting cards.... 

But more importantly, he's a Huddersfield lad through and through. He understands. He gets it. He doesn't need hindsight to try and give the club he owns the best possible tools to do the job.

Huddersfield may well be relegated this season, but it won't be down to a lack of effort, internal politics or briefing against their own manager to try and undermine him. It's open to question whether Ashley actually wants to be in this league - if he does, he's got a funny way of showing it. 

A mistake from Jonjo Shelvey's replacement, Mikel Merino, gifted Aaron Mooy the chance to curl the winner in the 50th minute and all of our summer signings struggled, although Joselu did OK on his debut after replacing the ineffective Dwight Gayle.

But it could have been a different story had referee Craig Pawson done his job. He sent off two Chelsea players last week and should have dismissed Steve Mounie for a stamp on Isaac Hayden that was worse than Shelvey's against Spurs a week earlier.

The only difference was that Mounie was cleverer and sneakier - but significantly more vicious.

And Pawson again failed to favour Rafa's side when he waved play-on following a handball in the area that was remarkably similar to one given against Chancel Mbemba by Mike Dean against Manchester United in our relegation season.

Matt Ritchie came inches away from opening the scoring in the 17th minute with a fine snapshot that Jonas Lossl tipped around the post. The defensive performance from United deserved to be punished though and within five minutes of the restart it was, Mooy slightly closer in than Ritchie when scoring with a similar effort.

That seemed like it might be the only goal of the afternoon, but United went on to squander a trio of chances. Joselu found space in the box but hit a weak shot, Ayoze Perez fired over from close range and Jacob Murphy had an effort blocked soon after coming on for his debut. 

Unlike the Championship, such profligacy is usually punished in this league - and it was.

We started last season with two defeats and finished top of the league so in that respect it's early to press the panic button. But this is a different ball game entirely - if you start behind in the top flight, you tend to stay behind. It's fair to say we were behind before a ball was kicked.

There are only 36 games left now to gain 40 points against 19 other sides that look better equipped and in better spirits- how we've managed to become so negative again so quickly is something only the owner can explain, failing miserably to do so when speaking to "Craigy" last week.

No history rewrites, no hiding behind hindsight when going against the patently obvious and no more, no-money bullsh*t. You didn't do your due diligence. Get over it and keep your promises to Rafa - he's our only chance of keeping this club United.

The defeat meant we joined Bournemouth, Brighton, Palace and West Ham as pointless after two games. The first three are also scoreless, while West Ham have netted twice but sit rock bottom having conceded seven. 

We host the Hammers next in the league, amid chat about their interest in employing Rafa last season when Slaven Bilic was under pressure. Given that situation, it's open to question just what result on Saturday would be of the greatest overall benefit to Newcastle United. Here we go again.


Page last updated 29 September, 2017