'Anything is possible for Huddersfield with Wagner in charge'

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It was a carnival atmosphere at the John Smith’s Stadium as Huddersfield Town celebrated Premier League survival but it was also a day that brought down the curtain on Arsene Wenger’s long managerial career at Arsenal.

14th May 2018

I guess it was fitting for the Frenchman that the Gunners ended their away day hoodoo with their first victory on the road since the turn of the year in his final game in charge.

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Wenger was given a guard of honour prior to kick-off and the whole crowd stood to applaud on 22 minutes to celebrate his 22 years in English football.

Both sides had nothing to play for with Huddersfield safe from relegation after a dramatic draw with Chelsea in midweek while Arsenal were firmly cemented in sixth place with another season of Europa League action to look forward to.

The Terriers were on the front foot at the beginning with Steve Mounie forcing David Ospina into a low save with a firm header and Tom Ince should have put the home side in the lead after being put through by Alex Pritchard but the winger failed to hit that target.

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It was a typical Arsenal-like goal that put the Gunners in front on 38 minutes. Some neat passing combinations in midfield led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting at the far post from Aaron Ramsey’s low cross.

Wenger’s side had just four shots on target throughout the 90 minutes but Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck wasted good chances to put the visitors out of sight.

On the balance of play, the defeat was unfair on the Terriers and Aaron Mooy was unlucky not to get the equaliser with a smart volley from 12 yards that smacked the crossbar.

Substitute Laurent Depoitre came so close at the death to rescue a point for David Wagner’s side but Ospina managed to gather the ball before it crossed the line.

Has this season been a success?

In one word - yes.

Promotion last season was totally unexpected and no one had given Huddersfield Town a prayer of staying in the Premier League but a key characteristic of Wagner’s side is upsetting the odds and they did just that yet again.

Although we did spend quite a bit of money last summer to give us a fighting chance, the quality in the squad is still lacking to what is needed at this level so it is an incredible achievement by the German to keep the Terriers in the top-flight for another year.

The season started off with a bang and the form at the beginning of the campaign played a huge part in Town avoiding relegation. It was starting to look precarious following a poor run of form at the turn of the year and it was a bit doom and gloom after the home defeat to Everton last month.

The victory over Watford and unlikely draws at Manchester City and Chelsea kept us in the league.

Beating Manchester United at home was the best moment of the season for me personally but I’d say the key moment was that last-minute win over the Hornets in April.

Are you happy with your manager?

Absolutely! Within such a short space of time, Wagner has changed Huddersfield Town from a team that is just about surviving in the Championship to a Premier League side.

People forget that the season we won promotion many of the media and pundits had backed us to be relegated!

To get us to the Premier League was a magnificent achievement in itself but to keep Town there is just outstanding and I hope we keep him at the club for many of year.

Other clubs are making glances towards Wagner, with Leicester City the latest team to be linked with his services.

But he has turned down big offers to stay at the John Smith’s Stadium and I have a good feeling that he will stay and have another year with Huddersfield in the Premier League.

What would be the club’s priority in the transfer market this summer?

Two new wingers. The supply to the forwards this season has been pretty much non-existent and that was reflected in the league with just 28 goals scored – the joint lowest in the league – and our top goalscorer was Steve Mounie with nine.

Terence Kongolo should be at the top of the shopping list too as the defender has been a revelation since joining on loan from Monaco in January. If a move for the Dutchman is not possible, then a new left-back would also be needed.

We’ve been OK defensively this season with Christopher Schindler and Zanka making a good partnership but I wouldn’t be surprised to see interest in the former from clubs higher up the food chain.

Midfielder Aaron Mooy has also been attracting interest and if he has a good World Cup with Australia in the summer, then he too could be another player that might leave Huddersfield.

What do you want to aim for next season?

It would be fantastic if Huddersfield could avoid relegation comfortably next season but the main aim is just stay in the division.

With Wagner in charge then anything is possible but we’ve got a year of Premier League football under our belts and we know what it is about now. If we strengthen key areas then who knows what may happen?

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