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20 Aug 2018

Huddersfield: Is David Wagner's head elsewhere?

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Worthy opponents

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Tactical failure

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That's more like it

Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Questions will be asked of David Wagner's headspace after Huddersfield have suffered their second successive heavy defeat following a summer of uncertainty over his future. 

Despite signing a new three-year deal at the John Smith's Stadium in May, both Leicester and Southampton were said to be interested in his services before the start of the season. 

Last season West Ham were also keen on appointing him as Slaven Bilic's replacement before hiring David Moyes last November. 

These more established Premier League clubs are sure to have given Wagner a tough decision to make concerning his immediate future. Most notably though, interest from his native Germany — from Wolfsburg and, most notably, Borussia Dortmund — is sure to have turned his head. 

The chance of returning to a club he will be familiar with, having started his managerial career with their second team, would be hard to turn down.

Worthy opponents

Huddersfield have begun this season with two heavy losses to Chelsea and Manchester City and find themselves bottom of the table having conceded nine goals already this term. 

Their opposition in both matches may have been clear favourites but it is the manner and margins of their defeats that are cause for concern for David Wagner and Huddersfield fans alike. 

REUTERS/Darren StaplesLast season, Huddersfield ended their campaign with two draws against the same two clubs and became the only club to prevent Manchester City scoring at the Etihad Stadium. 

Football fans became accustomed to watching Huddersfield turn out dogged defensive displays throughout their debut premier league season which saw them earn a win over Manchester United last October. 

However, the Terriers also suffered heavy defeats last year similar to this season, going down 5-0 to Arsenal and suffering 4-0 defeats to Tottenham and Bournemouth. Perhaps these early drubbings are not the main cause for concern just yet.

Tactical failure

Sunday's loss to Manchester City displayed a change of formation from the one used in the 0-0 at the end of the 2017/18 season for Huddersfield. 

On Sunday, Wagner preferred a back four rather than the five he deployed in May. The Terriers tried to match City's forwards man to man, with their two centre backs marking Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus who started as a front two for City. 

REUTERS/Darren StaplesThis tactic fell apart for Sergio Aguero's first goal as Ederson nullified Huddersfield's high press with a long goal kick leaving Aguero one on one and the outcome inevitable. 

The high press was dangerous given Ederson's renowned ability to pick a pass and, leaving Aguero up against just one defender, it was hardly a surprise that Huddersfield conceded. 

Huddersfield will also hope their goalkeeper Ben Hamer will have a better season after two major errors against City.

That's more like it

One thing is for certain: Wagner will be hoping for better this weekend. 

Saturday's match at the John Smith's Stadium will provide a better gauge of where Huddersfield and David Wagner are at against a physical Cardiff City side. 

Warnock's men churned out a typically robust performance against Newcastle and will have high hopes of picking up points at the weekend against the struggling Terriers.

REUTERS/Rebecca NadenWagner will have to ready his men for a physical battle, Christopher Schindler at the heart of the defence will be crucial to the Terriers chances. The German centre half won 149 aerial duels last season, the fifth highest in the league and will be expected to deal with Cardiff's target man Kenneth Zohore. 

Cardiff have been a bogey team for the Terries in recent years, the West Yorkshire side have not beaten the Bluebirds since January 2003. 

Wagner will be desperate for a win to ease any concern surrounding his future and the teams.