Premier League 17/18 Week 36: Huddersfield Town vs Everton – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
Huddersfield aim for a first win in 62 years over Everton as they welcome a Toffees team thinking more about the future
15:00 BST, Saturday 28th April, John Smith’s Stadium (Huddersfield, England)
After having two weeks off to reflect on their situation, Huddersfield should be well rested and even more motivated to finish their season on a high. Along with two other teams sitting on 35 points, the Terriers are part of a splinter group at the bottom of the table, pushing for safety. A victory this weekend will put them on the verge of retaining their top-flight status, however, they haven’t beaten the Toffees since 1956.
While Premier League safety is of no concern for Everton any longer, their 8th position masks a disappointing season. With only 2 away wins from their 17 league fixtures so far, fans have become disillusioned with both their side’s style and consistency. Having only dropped 7 points from their last 6 matches, they are slowly becoming more effective and another win would not only be huge progress on the start they made to this season, it would provide a sturdy foundation from which to build further.
Last Time Out
Huddersfield Town 1-0 Watford (Premier League)
The Terriers grabbed what could prove a vital win with a late, late goal that swatted aside the Hornets. Tom Ince was the player to score the goal which came during injury time of a game that had seemed certain to remain goalless.
Watford were the team to have spent much of the 90 minutes before this in the ascendancy, yet they could not break through Huddersfield’s tightly efficient defence. The Terriers limited Watford to only 4 shots in the entire game, 2 of which veering off target, to leave Jonas Lössl stood comfortably on his goal-line.
For all of Huddersfield’s commitment and determination, they failed to threaten Watford too. The injury-time goal from Ince was a simple tap-in from a long ball forwards, however, it was also the Terriers first shot on target from what had been a visually drab game for their supporters.
Everton 1-0 Newcastle United (Premier League)
The Toffees came out on top of another low-key encounter to leapfrog Leicester into 8th place in the table. Allardyce was facing one of his former clubs in Newcastle but the two Northern sides failed to produce many sparks when they collided.
With almost nothing of interest during the opening 45 minutes, Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott changed the complexion of the match quickly after the interval. A cross from the former fell the latter who slotted the ball into the net for his first goal since scoring twice against Leicester in January.
It proved to be the only shot on target from Everton although they shot high and wide on 8 other occasions. Playing a 4-3-3 formation with an experienced defence has helped make the Toffees more defensively rigid, however, on this evidence, they are too rigid in attack.
Huddersfield Town Lineup
Danny Williams (ankle) Tom Ince (hamstring) and Elias Kachunga (ankle) are once more sidelined for the Terriers, leaving Wagner likely to name the same starting eleven that faced Watford.
Allardyce continues without the injured quartet of Mason Holgate (ankle) Eliaquim Mangala (knee) James McCarthy (leg) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (knee) and is likely to field an unchanged side for a 3rd consecutive match in the search for improvements, despite hinting midweek that Ramiro Funes Mori could soon be given a chance to start.
Key Battle: Steve Mounie (Huddersfield) vs Cenk Tosun (Everton)
There has been a distinct lack of goals from both sides in recent weeks and a single goal in this match could prove enough to claim all 3 points. Huddersfield’s top scorer is Steve Mounie, however, the Beninese striker has only scored once from his last 6 appearances. With 7 goals in the league and a further 2 in cup competitions, a goal this weekend will tip him into double figures for the season in his 29th appearance for the club.
Everton can boast a more in-form striker in the shape of Cenk Tosun but their main problem has been in supplying the forward with chances. A slow start to life on Merseyside exploded into life during March, however, he too finds himself on a cold streak, failing to score in any of his last 4 games.
The home crowd at the John Smith’s stadium have played a colourful part in the current Premier League season. Holding only 24,500 people at capacity, it may be one of the smaller stadiums in the league but it packs a punch far above it’s size.
With 6 of Huddersfield’s 9 wins and 23 of their 35 points picked up in front of their home crowd, the crowd’s energy has played a small part in helping them turn this campaign into a success. As the lowest placed team in the table of Huddersfield’s remaining 4 fixtures, Everton offers arguably the best chance for the Terriers to keep safety within their own powers. A win would cause huge celebrations on the terraces and would set up a spectacular atmosphere for their final game of the season, at home against Arsenal.
One more year
Despite a public approval rating showing Sam Allardyce to be just as popular as Donald Trump, the current Everton boss appears set for another season in charge at Goodison.
While no official statement has yet been made by the Toffees, Allardyce was adamant in his Friday’s pre-match press conference that he would see out the rest of his contract with the Merseyside club.
With a respectable points return from his 5 months in charge, an improvement which has booster Everton from 17th position to 8th, there’s little reason on paper why Allardyce shouldn’t be granted the chance to fulfil his contract. It can also be argued that the squad, which was showing major deficiencies before his appointment, is a long way from being his own, yet the Everton board’s blessing is conspicuous in its absence.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 0-0 Everton
Huddersfield cannot yet rest easy given they could quickly find themselves sucked back into the relegation fight. They are a team struggling for both goals and form and like Everton, their recent games have not produced too much to excite their fans which points towards a sombre draw from this fixture.
(Photo Credit: Reuters/Craig Brough)