Huddersfield vs Burnley predictions: Terriers to frustrate Clarets
Just two months on from suffering heartbreak in the Championship play-off final against Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield are back to bring up the curtain on the 2022-23 campaign as they entertain Burnley at the John Smith's Stadium.
Last season was a case of so near yet so far for the Terriers, who endured an agonising 1-0 defeat to Forest as Levi Colwill’s own goal was all that separated the sides at Wembley.
However, there has been plenty of change for the West Yorkshire outfit over the summer and not only have they lost the services of manager Carlos Corberan, but six of the 11 that started their play-off final loss have left the club.
Reproducing those third-placed heroics under the inexperienced Danny Schofield therefore looks unlikely, while their opponents Burnley also have plenty to prove.
Having been relegated from the Premier League last term, the Clarets have turned to Vincent Kompany as their new permanent manager.
But some key personnel have departed for pastures new and the players may want to prepare for a different approach under Kompany, who has promised to adopt a more possession-based style.
Huddersfield have sold star men Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo to Forest, seen Spanish full-back Pipa join Olympiacos and had loan assets Danel Sinani and Colwill return to their parent clubs.
That means this is going to be a very different starting line-up to the one that was so successful last year, with Jonathan Hogg, Duane Holmes, Sorba Thomas and Danny Ward potentially vital to their prospects.
Defender Matty Pearson picked up an injury in Huddersfield’s final pre-season game and must be assessed ahead of this one so Rarmani Edmonds-Green, who was on loan at Rotherham in League One last season, may be asked to fill in.
The departures of Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Nathan Collins mean Burnley will deploy a new-look defence and could hand debuts to CJ Egan-Riley and Manchester City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Maxwel Cornet is wanted elsewhere and is expected to depart Turf Moor in the coming weeks, but new recruits Josh Cullen and Samuel Bastien will be pushing for a first Burnley start.
Huddersfield lost only two of their final 20 Championship home games last season and there is no rush to oppose them, despite obviously being a weaker unit than the previous campaign.
A change in style may be implemented without Corberan in charge but enough quality remains and it is worth noting that the Terriers kept 12 clean sheets from their 24 home games, which included the second leg of their play-off semi-final with Luton.
Huddersfield’s games averaged 2.41 goals per outing last season as Ward was the only player to hit double figures, netting 14 times in 37 league starts.
Wideman Thomas was providing Huddersfield’s service as he grabbed 15 assists from his 51 appearances in all competitions.
Burnley’s Premier League encounters averaged just 2.29 goals per game last season, with only 37% of their 38 fixtures featuring three goals or more.
A more positive approach may be adopted by Kompany but he has not had long to work with his new players and strikers Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez have something to prove having managed just eight goals between them last season.
Both Huddersfield and Burnley have had to come to terms with plenty of change over the summer and it is only right to expect the pair to improve as the season develops.
The Terriers are strong at home and are often well-organised, while the visitors have more star quality but may need time to adapt after six successive seasons of top-flight football.
It is unlikely either side will be seen to best effect on Friday night, meaning chances may be in short supply and goals hard to come by.
A low-scoring encounter enhances the chances of a draw, which has occurred in three of the last five meetings between the pair, and both parties would probably settle for a point.
A stalemate has plenty of appeal in what is sure to be a nervy curtain-raiser and a 1-1 draw could be the most likely correct score.