It’s certainly been a season to remember for Huddersfield Town. Currently riding high in the Championship, with a genuine chance of earning promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, the West Yorkshire outfit secured a FA Cup Fifth Round replay after an impressive draw against Manchester City. Tipped by many as potential winners of the tournament this season, City failed to find a way past a determined and organized Terriers defense, earning David Wagner’s men a replay back at the Etihad Stadium, with the winner set to face Middlesbrough in the quarter finals.
“40/52 – Champions Club” (CC BY 2.0) by Gene Hunt
After 45 years outside the top flight of English football, Huddersfield certainly look in a very decent position to make a long awaited return to the top tier. Sitting third in the Championship table, promotion to the Premier League will very much be the focus for Wagner and his team this season. That said, Huddersfield will want to keep winning as the season enters its home stretch. And while, on paper, City look far too strong for the Terriers, Pep Guardiola has found life in England much tougher than many expected when he made the move. Huddersfield will rightly fancy their chances of springing an upset when they meet the 2011 FA Cup champions for a second time.
While City will go into their replay with Huddersfield priced at around 20/1 with the FA Cup betting to progress to the quarter finals, they showed in the 0-0 draw that it would be unwise to rule out Wagner’s men. And when one takes into consideration just how unpredictable City have been at times this season under Guardiola, it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that the Terriers could have an FA Cup quarter final to look forward to, as well as their push for automatic promotion over the next few months.
For Guardiola, ending his first season in Manchester without any silverware to his name would have to be considered a huge disappointment. For a man who has won lifted over 20 trophies as a head coach, not to mention someone who arrived in England with so much expected of him, Guardiola will know that winning at least one competition this year is really a bare minimum. While the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager doesn’t appear to be in any danger of losing his job should he fail to win some silverware this season, Guardiola himself may feel he isn’t suited to life in England, especially if he loses the support of the fans and his players.
“duke-0525” (CC BY 2.0) by Thomas Rodenbücher
Huddersfield, meanwhile, won’t be thinking about Guardiola’s troubles. On the back of yet another late winner, the Championship side have put themselves into a position to record what could end up being one of the most memorable years in the club’s history. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, playing without any pressure could well be the difference as Huddersfield look to continue their remarkable season.