This is the big one. Win this and we’re pretty much home and dry. Draw and we keep the healthy distance between us and third. Lose and we still are still five points clear, but still have work to do. None of the above scenarios are actually that bad, thanks to Tuesday night where we got the huge result we deserved in spite of the most comedy goal ever scored.
As I said before the Brighton game, our away form speaks for itself and we were always going to get some results out of this run of fixtures. Bobby Madley tried his best to rock the boat but we were excellent for the majority of the game on Tuesday and once again took the game to our rivals in their back yard. We do play better against those closest to us in the league, and whilst it’s not OK how many points we’ve dropped to those at the bottom of this awful league, we are still doing the job int he games that really matter. I expect this to be no different.
Huddersfield have already beaten us this season, in a poor poor game. I still like to think our squad was incomplete at the time. Janmaat played, Anita was in midfield and Rolando Aarons started the game as we were still finding our feet in this division. We were also bedding in a little known Belgian goalkeeper at the time. Remember him?
That Huddersfield have as many points as they do up to now is nothing short of a miracle. Their goal difference is 8 yet they have somehow won 20 games of football. They have rarely won by more than 1 goal and have had a couple of hammerings this season. (Fulham 5-0 springs to mind). They did however beat Brighton 3-1 just this month so this will not be an easy game.
Assuming no refereeing gags, we will still have to be at our best to get the right result here. That means we need the same level of effort from all of the lads we got after the first 10 at Brighton. We need performances from big players and we need to concentrate as Huddersfield are good enough to make us pay for any more lousy errors.
I don’t expect the team to change much from Tuesday. This will be a very similar game. The defence will be unchanged (but for some sort of Rafa masterstroke) and Colback/Shelvey are our only midfield options unfortunately. Colback continues to struggle but we just have to get behind the lad. It’s not like he isn’t trying, he just struggles to play in a midfield where Jonjo is running the show.
The competition between Perez and Diamé is hotting up. Both are playing well when they get their chance. Some might disagree with that assessment of Mo’s performance on Tuesday night (silly goal aside) but whilst nothing really came off for him, he was all over the pitch and put a massive shift in. He was constantly looking for the ball and trying. That’s the job of the number 10. Perez can do it too but we need to see more from him. Diamé gets the nod again for me with Perez an impact option.
Up front is a tough one. Gouffran didn’t have the best game on Tuesday and Daryl Murphy’s introduction had a positive impact on the team. That said, Murphy doesn’t have 90 minutes in him. If Gayle is in the squad I also doubt he has a full 90 in him. I’m bored of Mitro but it’s always possible he gets ANOTHER chance. We have options and there will likely be changes before and during the game.
The most important thing though is that we continue to perform at a high level and keep improving with every game. Play like we did on Tuesday for the rest of the season, we will definitely win the league and this weekend’s game is a huge chance to take a massive step closer to getting out of this horrid league. So come on lads, let’s do these and put to bed any doubt that Rafa’s United are anything other than the best in this league.
SIMON CAMPBELL – Follow Simon on @simoncampbell11
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