Following Leicester City’s stunning Premier League winning campaign in 2016, last season threw up a fairy tale story that was almost as unlikely as Huddersfield earned promotion through the play-offs despite operating on the lowest budget in the Championship. Having surprised everyone by making it to the top flight, what does 2017-18 have in store for the Terriers and can they survive in the Premier League?
It’s fair to say that few fancied Huddersfield for promotion last season. In 2015-16, they had finished nineteenth in the table, winning just thirteen games and by the start of the 2016-17 season, were widely tipped for relegation. Instead, manager David Wagner led them to fifth in the Championship table. They picked up 12 points fewer than second-placed Brighton, but they made the most of their chance in the play-offs, beating Sheffield Wednesday and then Reading on penalties to earn their place in the Premier League.
As Middlesbrough and Hull showed last season, Premier League survival is incredibly tough and with a miniscule budget, Huddersfield will certainly have their work cut out for them if they are to hang on to their seat at the top table of English football.
They have at least been handed a relatively easy beginning to Premier League life, avoiding any of the top seven teams, and will hope to get some points out of their games against Newcastle, Crystal Palace and West Ham in the first month. But pundits are convinced that the Terriers face an uphill struggle this season, and the bookmakers agree, making them the unanimous favourites for relegation, for which they are best-priced at 4/5 with Black Type. If you take a more optimistic view of their chances, you can back them at 13/10 to stay up with Paddy Power and 18/1 with BWin if you think Huddersfield can break into the top ten.
Huddersfield crashed out of the EFL Cup early last season, but fared much better in the FA Cup, reaching the fifth round and taking Manchester City to a replay. Another cup run would be a welcome boost for Huddersfield fans, given that the league campaign is likely to be a struggle and if you fancy the Terriers to taste cup glory, you can back them at 125/1 with Ladbrokes to win the FA Cup and 100/1 with Sporting Bet in the EFL Cup.
Huddersfield have brought in a number of players in the close season, but the most significant could be Tom Ince, the son of Liverpool and Manchester United player Paul. The winger has long been viewed as a great prospect and will now have a chance to show what he can do on the big stage. He is probably the leading talent in Huddersfield’s young squad, and if you fancy him to have an epic, career-defining campaign, you can back Ince at 500/1 with Skybet to win the Premier League Player of the Season award.
To compete in the Premier League, it was obvious that Huddersfield desperately needed to add more quality to the squad and they have been busy in the transfer market, bringing in Tom Ince and Laurent Depoitre from Porto, along with Mathias Jorgensen from FC Copenhagen, Scott Malone of Fulham, Steve Mounie from Montpellier and Daniel Williams of Reading. All have talent and potential in abundance, although they lack Premier League experience and that, in the end, could prove costly to the Terrier’s chances.