Rory Benson, a digital football writer at the Huddersfield Examiner, tells us everything we need to know about the newly-promoted Terriers.
Huddersfield won their first two but have lost five of the last six. Is there concern over the Terriers' form?
“It’s not been great, they’ve really struggled for creativity and scoring goals is a major problem. In those defeats, though, you've had some really decent performances, like the one against City where we lost 2-1 and played pretty well. But in some they just weren't up to speed, like the 5-0 defeat at Arsenal. They were outclassed that day.”
What have Wagner's men been like on the road?
“They've not scored away since the opening day and the away form is the issue. Their last point away was at Burnley in September, although that really does look like a good point now. Wagner is confident they can turn it around but they do need to be more adventurous going forward away from home.
“Their home form is really good and that's partly because of the atmosphere created at the John Smith's Stadium. You just don’t get the same atmosphere away. A lot of it is again down to goalscoring and creating chances. They set up quite defensively away from home and just don't create enough chances for Mounie and Laurent Depoitre. They've only scored three on the road this season.”
They say the gap between the Championship and the Premier League is widening. How have the team found the step up?
"They took to it pretty quickly and let's not forget this is a team who were expected to go down from the Championship the year they got promoted. They've spent a lot of money in the summer building a Premier League team and they made an exceptional start, beating Palace and Newcastle.
“I think they were still riding on a high from the Play-Off win at Wembley. They've played some good football, passed the ball around well and look well-organised. Wagner has got them well drilled. However, it's maybe starting to catch up with them a bit and there is also the realisation of just how hard it is in this league.”
They turned over one of the big boys, though, when they beat Manchester United. That must have given the team huge belief...
“It was a massive win and the whole of Huddersfield was buzzing after the game. It was an incredible performance. They were set up so well. United piled on the pressure but Town were so well organised and sprung quickly on the counter-attack. Their high press was really on point. I guess it's easy to get up for Man United, just like they did against Man City. Now they need to get back to the high press and win the ball high up the field and start creating chances again.”
Do you reckon the Terriers can avoid going straight back down?
“I do expect them to stay up as there are three worse teams than them. The organisation on and off the field should stand them in good stead and I'm sure they'd take finishing 17th right now. That would be massive, especially considering they'd not been in the top flight for 45 years, so to be in it for two seasons would be fantastic.”
Steve Mounie is your top-scorer with four goals in seven starts. Tell us a bit about him...
“He was their record-signing for £11.5m. He’s a Benin international and scored two on his debut against Palace. He looked like he'd really kick on after that but he's been held back a bit by a heel injury. He's had to bide his time to get his match fitness back, playing 45 minutes here and there.
“Wagner rotates him with Depoitre. Mounie is a big athletic guy whose good in the air. In fact, he scored the most headed goals in Ligue 1 last season. He's a real handful for centre-backs — it's just about getting him the right service.”
One player in your ranks that is guaranteed a good reception at Vicarage Road on Saturday is Jonathan Hogg. Is he as liked at Huddersfield as he is by us?
“He's been exceptional. Gareth Southgate was at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday and Town fans would have you believe he was there watching Hogg for that central defensive midfield role. He's a real fans' favourite and they just love the way he throws his body around.
“He puts in 110 per cent and really breaks things up. He plays alongside Aaron Mooy and it's a pairing that works really well. It got them promoted and it's working the same in the Premier League.”
Any injuries or suspensions we should know about?
“We're alright and quite injury free at the minute. There are definitely no suspensions. There are three long-term injuries in Michael Hefele, who has returned to full training but he won't play, Jon Gorenc-Stankovic has been out since this time last year with an ACL tear and the other one is Philip Billing. He got injured against Swansea and that was a shame as he played so well in the cup against Man City last season and was going from strength to strength. He'll be a Premier League player for years to come.”
How can we expect Wagner to set the team up on Saturday?
“He'll play 4-2-3-1. He does occasionally like to switch to 4-3-3 but he likes Mooy and Hogg as the holding two which gives more of a base for the attacking players. It got them promoted last season and brought them a lot of success, so it's a case of it's not broken, don't fix it. They used it against Palace and Newcastle and it worked. Although results have dipped since, it's the system they look most organised in. He has used 4-3-3 against the bigger teams like Man City and Man United.”
If we pushed you, could you name the team you think Wagner might go with?
Lossl; Smith, Schlinders, Jorgensen, Lowe; Mooy, Hogg; Ince, La Parra , Kachunga; Depoitre.
We're still reeling a bit from Tuesday's collapse at Crystal Palace. That aside, what have you made of our form this season?
"You're a strange one, really. When you appointed Silva you thought you'd have an exceptional home record but it's happened the other way round. Everyone thought you'd be in a dogfight after you finished 17th last season but you've been in the top half of the table all season and are playing some decent stuff.
“Doucouré is a terrific holding midfielder but he's now added goals to his games while Richarlison looks an unbelievable signing. I'm sure the top six are looking at him as he's been one of the standout players in the league. I think it will be a tough ask for Town on Saturday. The fans just want to see them score an away goal. It's been a long time since that happened.”