Stats showing they are not brittle at the back
Huddersfield Town are going strong in the early stages of the new league season, currently sitting fourth in the Sky Bet Championship.
With 13 points from seven games, they sit in the play-off positions in sixth, just two points behind West Brom at the summit. So, what is this confident start down to?
It has to be emphasised the Terriers did not, in fact, begin the season at all well. They failed to win either of their first two league games, which included a drubbing by Fulham at the John Smith’s Stadium – but since then, they’ve won four out of five games.
During their two-year spell in the Premier League, which ended in 2019, Huddersfield showed that they were able to mix in with the big boys. During their first season in the top flight, they conceded 58 goals – only seven more than Arsenal, who were sixth that year, which shows they had defensive nous when they needed it.
And that seems to be the secret to their success this time around. One of the most popular statistics in football these days is xGF (Expected Goals For) and xGA (Expected Goals Against), a formula which dictates, on average, how many goals a team should score and concede based on the opportunities created during a match.
Last season, their xGA was only below 1.00 for 15 of the 46 games, and they finished the season with the worst goals against record in the division. However, just seven games into this season, they have already achieved this xGA five times, suggesting that not only are they not leaking goals, but the Terriers are stopping their opposition creating good chances.
Manager Carlos Corberan has spoken on many occasions about finding the balance between attack and defence, and with the defensive grit shown early on in this season, there will be optimism from fans that this could be a very productive year.