Huddersfield v Newcastle: Magpies seek to replicate away form of last season against tenacious Terriers


David Wagner’s Terriers host Rafael Benitez and Newcastle in Huddersfield’s first ever Premier League home game. After an opening weekend of contrasting fortunes for the top-flight’s new boys, both sides will be hungry for all three points on Sunday. But which team do the stats suggest will fare best?

 

Huddersfield have won just one of their 11 meetings with Newcastle in all competitions

Newcastle have won six and drawn four of their 11 previous encounters with Huddersfield, including a victory in this exact fixture in the Championship last season. The visitors won 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium back in March, an act of revenge following Huddersfield’s 2-1 victory at St James’ Park early in the campaign. That win remains the Terriers’ only triumph against Newcastle in any competition. But as they proved with last season’s promotion and an opening day win in the Premier League, this Huddersfield side thrives on the chance to defy expectations.

 

Huddersfield could become only the third newly-promoted side to win their first two Premier League games

Town will be looking to follow in the footsteps of previous promoted teams - Hull City (2016/17) and Bolton Wanderers (2001/02) - by winning successive matches at the very beginning of a new Premier League campaign. Like they did so often last term, Wagner’s side capitalised on their own underdog status in the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend. Meanwhile, Newcastle, no thanks to Jonjo Shelvey’s red card, suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Tottenham. As a result, Huddersfield are likely to be full of confidence ahead of Sunday, yet cautious of a Newcastle response.


 


 

Newcastle won 14 away games in last season’s Championship, the most they’ve ever won in a single English league campaign

The 46 points Newcastle picked up on the road last season contributed significantly as Benitez’s men charged towards the Championship title. Again, success away from home is likely to have a massive impact on their final position this term. But Newcastle will already know the Premier League is a different challenge altogether. The Magpies are without a win in their last 11 top-flight away matches, losing nine and drawing two. Their last away win in the Premier League came in December 2015: a 2-1 victory at Spurs. After that, Newcastle failed to score in six of their remaining 11 away league games in 2015/16 before relegation.

 

Steve Mounie could become the first player to score in his first two Premier League appearances for a newly-promoted side since 2001/02

With an average age of 25 years and 143 days, Huddersfield's starting eleven was the youngest of any Premier League team on the opening weekend. No one in that eleven looked out of place at Selhurst Park, but one man certainly stood out. Record signing Steve Mounie took his two goals brilliantly against Palace, and the Benin international already appears to be perfectly suited to the Premier League. Bolton’s Michael Ricketts (2001/02) was the last newly-promoted player to score in his first two appearances in the English top flight. More high-quality service from Town’s star midfielder Aaron Mooy will surely result in further joy for Mounie.

 

Dwight Gayle has scored in each of his previous three league appearances against Huddersfield

Newcastle struggled to create clear-cut chances against Tottenham last weekend. With eleven men they might have been better prepared to feed their 2016/17 top scorer, Dwight Gayle, who averaged a league goal every 93 minutes in the Championship. Gayle scored with his head at home and away against Huddersfield last term: the striker missed a penalty at St James’ Park but nodded in the rebound; he then took advantage of a defensive mistake in the reverse fixture before heading into an open goal. Gayle was also on the scoresheet for Peterborough in a 2-2 Championship draw at Huddersfield back in April 2013.