In what can already be deemed as a game to likely define the final relegation places this season, both Cardiff and Huddersfield failed to get the points each team really needed.
The draw is probably the worse result for the Terriers, who remain bottom of the table despite being the better team on the day. Cardiff failed to impress and were fairly lucky to claim a point in a game low on quality.
The first half went by exactly as you might expect. There was plenty of hard work and endeavor from each side, but the game really just lacked that a bit of something special. Surprisingly, it was Huddersfield who took the game to the home side.
But despite dominating possession, David Wagner’s outfit looked characteristically toothless going forward and failed to make the most of an uninspiring first 45 minutes from Cardiff.
The second half saw things continue in a similar fashion and by the hour mark the game had yet to see a shot on target. Cardiff improved slightly, but still struggled to assert themselves on the game as Huddersfield continue to look the more likely to score – though that’s not saying much.
In the 76th minute it looked like the game finally had something out of nothing. Huddersfield were awarded a penalty by Lee Mason, only for his lineman to overrule him and deny Wagner’s side a chance for what would have been a massive goal.
In a game where Junior Hoilett and Jason Puncheon were the most exciting players on the field, a 0-0 draw is probably a fair result – bearing in mind it is 2019.
Key Talking Point
Cardiff get lucky. They really didn’t turn up for this one and if they want to stay in the Premier League, they need to make the most of the home advantage in games like these. They played with a lack of urgency and going forward they were insipid; mustering just two shots in the whole game.
They were lucky not to concede a penalty when Lee Mason changed his mind after previously pointing to the spot. That slice of luck was about as good as it got from Cardiff’s point of view. But, at the very least, it was an important game not to lose and another point to add to the season’s tally.
Starting XI: Etheridge (6); Ecuele Manga (6), Morrison (6), Bamba (6), Bennett (6); Mendez-Laing (6), Arter (6), Gunnarsson (5), Camarasa (5), Hoilett (6*); Paterson (6)
Substitutes: Ralls (6), Healey (6), Reid (6)
Star Man – Junior Hoilett
Hoilett was one of the few players who took to the game with a bit of imagination. He worked as hard as any of his teammates, but also showed a little flair in the attacking third.
It was a game largely devoid of quality and Hoilett didn’t really have enough in his locker to single handedly conjure something out of nothing for his team. But he tried more than most.
Worst Player – Aron Gunnarsson
Following a possible dive from Jason Puncheon, Gunnarsson lost his temper a little in the first half. The Iceland international seemed to lose a grip on things from there on in.
Usually a notable presence in the heart of the midfield, the game mostly seemed to pass Gunnarsson by as Cardiff failed to dominate proceedings despite being the home team.
Key Talking Point
Without an natural goalscorer, a chance from the spot would have been massive. In hindsight, that overturned decision might just define their season. Huddersfield just need goals.
The acquisition of Puncheon looks like a good singing thus far, and he showed signs of forming a decent relationship with Alex Pritchard. But even with this creative improvement the team still lacks an attacking focal point. Steve Mounie works hard but just isn’t a reliable scoring option this season. Keep in mind that he is the only Terriers’ striker to score in the league this season, and you might start to worry.
— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) 12 January 2019
Starting XI: Lossl (7); Hadergjonaj (6), Jorgensen (6), Schindler (6), Durm (6); Kachunga (6), Hogg (6), Pritchard (6), Billing (6), Puncheon (7*); Mounie (5)
Substitutes: Mbenza (6), Depoitre (6)
Star Man – Jason Puncheon
On his Premier League debut for the club, despite having not played an awful lot of football over the past few seasons, Puncheon was at the heart of Huddersfield’s best attacking moments. Pritchard often looked to link up with his new teammate and it gave the team a good point of attack.
The only issue was, he just didn’t have the quality around him to get the breakthrough.
Worst Player – Steve Mounie
The stiker didn’t do anything that bad in particular, but that’s part of the problem. He just didn’t do anything. Huddersfield were the better side on the day and dictated most of the play. But without a trusty goal scorer they just couldn’t take advantage of a strong away perfomance.
His inability to bring goals to the team may just cost Huddersfield their Premier League status.
Next up, Cardiff face enough important clash down at the bottom of the table as they travel to Newcastle.
Unfortunately things won’t get any easier for Huddersfield as the play Manchester City next weekend – but hey, at least they’re at home for that one.