An in-depth look at our next opponents in the Sky Bet Championship
- Huddersfield Town vs Watford
- Saturday 4 November 2023, 3pm kick-off
- A look ahead to our next visitors to the John Smith’s Stadium
Having each won away from home in the corresponding fixtures last season, Town will be hoping to out that right when Watford visit the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Just the 34th time the two sides have met in all competitions having first crossed paths in September 1969, only two of those games have come in cup ties. Opening with a draw in that first encounter, only five games have ended that way in over 50 years of games, with Town winning 16 and Watford coming out on top 13 times.
Even in the last 10 meetings, Town and Watford have won five each, with the fixture not ending in a draw since a 1-1 at Vicarage Road back in 1999. The sides have never drawn at the John Smith’s Stadium, last finishing level in Huddersfield at the old Leeds Road in 1976, with the referee blowing for time at 2-2.
Relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2021/22 campaign, the Hornets parted company with Caretaker boss Roy Hodgson and appointed Rob Edwards for the Sky Bet Championship campaign ahead.
Not going to plan, Edwards was dismissed in September 2022 and replaced by Slaven Bilic, who himself oversaw six months at Vicarage Road before moving on in March 2023 to make way for Chris Wilder, who remained until the end of the campaign.
With obvious ambitions of returning to the top flight, Valérien Ismaël was introduced in the summer of 2023, and was rewarded with a contract extension in October with Watford backing their new boss despite inconsistent results.
Currently sat in 16th place with a record of four wins, five draws and five losses in 14 games, they are three points and five places above Town heading into this game.
48-year-old French coach Valérien Ismaël had a long playing career at centre half, playing well over 300 games before hanging up his boots. Representing the likes of Strasbourg, Lens, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, supporters may remember him from a brief stint in England with Crystal Palace in 1998.
Earning his first coaching position just two years after retirement, Ismaël learned his craft in Germany before taking roles in Cyprus and Austria, eventually taking over at Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship in 2021. Taking the Tykes into the top six before losing in the Play-Off Semi-Finals, he left in the summer following an approach from West Bromwich Albion.
Parting way with West Brom midway through the 2021/22 campaign, Ismaël worked with Besiktas in Turkey before returning to England this summer with Watford.
LAST TIME OUT
Opening the scoring inside 10 minutes and equalising late on in the 92nd minute either side of two Millwall goals, it was a 2-2 draw last time for Watford at Vicarage Road.
Zian Flemming and Wes Harding had turned the game on its head for Millwall after Yaser Asprilla had given Watford that early lead, but Mileta Rajovic rescued a point in the dying moments to extend Watford’s unbeaten run to four games.
Previous Starting XI: Bachmann; Lewis, Hoedt, Sierralta, Ngakia; Kone, Livermore, Kayembe; Sema, Bayo, Asprilla (4-3-3)
Watford have lined up in 14 of their opening 15 games of the season in all competition in the same 4-3-3 system, with the one deviation being an experiment with 3-4-3 at the end of September.
Blessed with pace in the wide areas and an abundance of attacking talent, that’s where Watford understandably shift their focus and look to have as many bodies as possible.
The midfield three is often made up of one traditional holding player, with two either side given a more fluid role, allowing them to play box-to-box or drop deeper alongside their number six as and when required.
A flat back four giving them the foundation from which to play, they central defenders will often sit wider with the holding midfielder dropping deeper and splitting them to create a three when in possession.
WHO TO WATCH
With one goal and three assists in his first 13 games of the 2023/24 campaign, this is Louza’s third season with Watford after making the move from French club Nantes. Still just 24-years-old, the attacking midfielder is a full Moroccan international, scoring on his debut in 2021. Scoring six times and creating a further seven goals in his 57 games for the Hornets to date, last season was his most productive for the club as he was directly involved in nine goals across the campaign.
19-year-old Columbian international Asprilla joined Watford in 2022, opening the scoring at Vicarage Road against Town last season in a game that would eventually end in our favour. Now a full international for his country, he has scored three and assisted four in his 52 games for Watford so far, with two goals and assists each this campaign. Full of pace and trickery out wide, he will likely operate from one of the wings in the front three should he play.
On loan from Udinese since January 2023, Martins is a Brazilian forward who had previously been with Fluminense based in Rio de Janeiro before moving to Serie A. Returning three goals in 13 appearances so far this season, Martins has also represented his country at U16 and U20 level, playing in the U20 World Cup for Brazil. Able to operate from anywhere across the front three, his most natural position is off the left, cutting back inside onto his strongest right foot.
TOWN TEAM NEWS
Town Manager Darren Moore will share an update on the availability within his squad at his next press conference on Friday 3 November when he speaks to the media.
Back home in HD1, the Terriers will be in blue and white this weekend.
With a new stock of home kits recently received, you can make one of our 2023/24 strips your own with all sizes still available.
CLICK HERE to visit our online store!
Supporters can still join us at the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend, with all four stands open!
Those who join us in the Big Red Stand Lower Tier will also receive a Club flag.
CLICK HERE to secure your seat.
Kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday, streaming within the UK will not be available as always, however those unable to join us who want to keep up-to-date with every second of the game can do so with an audio match pass!
CLICK HERE to find out more about how to buy.