Wednesday 18 July 2018

Impressive Terriers earn priceless point at City's party

Manchester City 0 Huddersfield 0

Pep Guardiola is lifted into the air during Manchester City’s celebrations after their final home league game of the season. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Pep Guardiola is lifted into the air during Manchester City’s celebrations after their final home league game of the season. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

James Ducker

To put this result into some context, it was the first time in the Premier League since April last year that Manchester City had failed to score at the Etihad Stadium and only the second occasion in 42 league matches dating back to last season that the runaway champions had not found the net.

It was not even as if Huddersfield Town rode their luck either. From start to finish, they were magnificent.

Huddersfield Town's Jonas Lossl in action with Steve Mounie and Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi. Photo: Reuters
Huddersfield Town's Jonas Lossl in action with Steve Mounie and Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi. Photo: Reuters

As the game entered stoppage time, it was actually David Wagner's side who had the best chance to win.

Scott Malone must have had stars in his eyes when the substitute dispossessed Bernardo Silva, hurtled 25 yards up field and launched a shot at Ederson that the City goalkeeper batted away before Kyle Walker headed the rebound into his hands.

"We don't like to be too greedy, but it was possible to win the game at the end. That is the truth," Wagner said.

Victory would have guaranteed Huddersfield's survival. As it stands, they are not safe quite yet, but this could prove an invaluable point.

Manchester City's Fabian Delph (right) and Huddersfield Town's Tommy Smith battle for the ball. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester City's Fabian Delph (right) and Huddersfield Town's Tommy Smith battle for the ball. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

With Chelsea to play at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, followed by the visit of Arsenal on the final day, Huddersfield's run-in is treacherous - but they navigated arguably the toughest hurdle.

Huddersfield are three points clear of Southampton and Swansea, who meet tomorrow. Only Crystal Palace before them had stopped City from scoring in the league this season and you had to go as far back as April 27 last year, when Manchester United held City to a goalless draw, to find the last time Pep Guardiola's side failed to score at the Etihad in the competition.

It was just a shame the Huddersfield players were denied the opportunity to celebrate in front of their fans at the final whistle after a pitch invasion from City supporters for the second successive home game.

There were two parties going on here, one involving City, who were finally presented with the Premier League trophy, and another with the Huddersfield fans, who can almost taste survival.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Huddersfield Town's Florent Hadergjonaj in action. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Huddersfield Town's Florent Hadergjonaj in action. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

With the sun beating down, a jubilant home crowd in full party mode and Guardiola resisting any temptation to play a weakened team, these were hardly optimum conditions for a Huddersfield side seeking somehow to bridge one of the biggest divides in the top flight.

If Wagner's men have proved anything, though, it is that they are up for a fight. They are well organised and work hard. Those qualities were in evidence as they frustrated City, defending in numbers, but there was no shortage of ambition and they crafted several attacks of note.

Two, in particular, could have yielded goals in the first half. In the 11th minute, Florent Hadergjonaj zipped on to Aaron Mooy's disguised free-kick, only to shoot straight at Ederson. Chris Lowe then squandered a similarly good chance.

City had their moments but, by their high standards, this was an off day. Beyond Christopher Schindler clearing off his goal-line after Lossl punched Leroy Sane's corner against an unwitting Steve Mounie, it was hard to recall City creating any meaningful opportunities after the interval.

Manchester City's David Silva heads at goal. Photo: Reuters
Manchester City's David Silva heads at goal. Photo: Reuters

Then came Malone's shot at immortality. It was not to be, but replicate this performance against Chelsea and Arsenal and Huddersfield will almost certainly be playing Premier League football again next season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport