Manchester United are ready for Boxing Day. The festive period is in full swing and Huddersfield Town are coming to Old Trafford. The Terriers will be hoping for a small miracle on Wednesday, as they are joint-worst team in the league points-wise and if they want to remain unscathed come May, they need to start winning points not just against their rivals, but also to try and nick some points off the bigger sides.
And Manchester United truly are a bigger side. They will be coming into the match following a 5-1 drubbing of Cardiff City and after a surge of positive energy since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian will want his team to play attacking football with swagger once again and score plenty of goals. What better side could they meet right now other than Huddersfield?
David Wagner’s team is on a run of five losses and a month without a victory. The only match of those five where Huddersfield were a true underdog came against Arsenal. They lost just 1-0, but it could have easily been a far more comfortable margin. The other four were against Brighton, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Southampton and these four losses could come back to haunt them in their fight for survival.
So let’s see what we can learn from Huddersfield’s season so far.
Expected Goals Say Plenty
Huddersfield are currently 19th in Premier League, ahead of Fulham only on goal-difference. They have scored just 11 goals and conceded 31. Their expected goals are a bit higher (12.58) which is not too bad of an underperformance, though it is horrendous when your xG per match equals to 0.70. Their expected goals against (xGA) are far worse, as they were expected to conceded 26.90, or 4.10 goals less than they actually did.
When you add xG and xGA together, you get a mix of a very poor attack and a leaky defence. Last season things worked much better in both departments and no wonder Huddersfield are in the middle of a fierce relegation battle.
Where Are Goals Coming From?
Check this out. They scored 11 goals and their best goalscorers are Zanka, Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing. They scored two goals each and none of them is a forward. One of their eleven goals was an own-goal too. So, who is supposed to score them. Well, it is for certain that Laurent Depoitre and Steve Mounie are heavily underperforming, as the two strikers are both waiting for their first goal of the season and we are already past Christmas.
Chances Will Come
Looking at previous matches Huddersfield have played, Man United will get their chances. They concede just 12.3 shots per game and only seven teams are better than them in that regard. However, with their xG per shot being at 0.12, it tells a story of conceding good chances. And United will be waiting for that after such a fine performance in Cardif. Martial and Rashford showed what they can do, while Jesse Lingard’s second half performance will also be a boost for fans’ confidence ahead of this match.