Huddersfield vs Fulham preview: David Wagner’s side targeting first league win of season

David Wagner will hope to lead Huddersfield to their first Premier League win of the season when they host Fulham on Monday Night Football.

Wagner’s men are bottom of the Premier League having failed to win any of their first 10 games this season.

They host a Fulham outfit who are two places above them with two more points, and who have lost each of their last four league matches, plus Thursday’s Carabao Cup tie at Manchester City.

And Wagner, who expects a fervent atmosphere inside the stadium on Monday, wants a reaction from his players against the Cottagers.

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November 5, 2018, 7:00pm

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“We need to defend better than we did against Watford and attack like we have done in the past,” he said. “I’ve told my players to show a reaction on Monday.

“For us, it’s important that we are at our best. If we are on our best, we have the chance to be successful. At home, with our supporters, we have to have an atmosphere that this game deserves; it’s an important game.”

In contrast, Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic does not believe the clash with their fellow strugglers will define his side’s hopes for the rest of the campaign.

“It’s a really important game for us, it’s a really important game for Huddersfield too,” he said. “It’s an early six-pointer at the beginning of November. After the game, it’s not going to be done for either team.

“There are some teams who are a few points in front of us and we are fighting to be competitive and to catch them and to put them under some kind of pressure. I don’t believe we are going to be safe in November or December or January; at the same time I don’t believe anybody will win the Premier League in this time either.”

Team news

Terence Kongolo is among the players who could return for Huddersfield.

Wagner has said it looks as if the only man in his squad not in contention for Monday’s contest is midfielder Danny Williams (knee).

Kongolo (hamstring) and Tommy Smith (knee), both missing for the last three games, have been back in training, as have Rajiv van La Parra and Abdelhamid Sabiri after illness.

Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald is back in contention after he missed the defeat to Manchester City due to suspension after being sent off against Bournemouth last weekend.

Defender Joe Bryan remains unavailable because of a hamstring injury.

Opta stats

  • This will be the first top-flight meeting between Huddersfield and Fulham since April 1952 – with Fulham winning 1-0 at Craven Cottage.
  • Fulham are unbeaten in their last 11 league meetings with Huddersfield (W7 D4), beating them by an aggregate score of 9-1 in their last such meetings in the 2016-17 Championship.
  • Fulham have lost their last six Premier League games in Yorkshire, since beating Leeds 1-0 thanks to a Steed Malbranque goal in April 2002.
  • Huddersfield could become only the second team in English Football League history to fail to score in their first six home games of a season, after Mansfield who failed to score in their first nine in the third tier in 1971-72. They have failed to score in their last seven home top-flight matches – only one team in the history of the top-flight has failed to score in eight in a row (Man City between January and May 2007).
  • No team has ever conceded more goals in their opening 10 Premier League games of a season than Fulham have this season (28) – Barnsley in 1997-98 and Southampton in 2012-13 also conceded 28 goals in their first 10 games.
  • Fulham have conceded at least three goals in each of their last four Premier League games – only one team has done so in five consecutive matches, with Sunderland doing so in November 2005.
  • Huddersfield have lost both of their Premier League matches played on Monday, losing away games to West Ham and Leicester last season; they haven’t played at home on a Monday in the top-flight since drawing 0-0 with Leeds in April 1971.

Merson’s prediction

It’s a cup final.

I can’t go for Fulham. I just think defensively they’re all over the place. They let in four against Cardiff!

I watched them play against Arsenal last month – a 5-1 defeat – and they played the way Arsenal would play against Barcelona. They just literally went for it; we have a shot, you have a shot. You’ve got to have more than that in the Premier League.

I’m going for Huddersfield, who I think have been bang unlucky this season. Their luck should change, and defensively Fulham are as bad as I’ve seen. If Huddersfield don’t win this game I think they’re down because this is as winnable as they come.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)

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