Steve Mounie took the headlines on the opening day as he helped Huddersfield Town to a win in their first ever match in the Premier League. The Terriers have been written off as relegation fodder this season, but they showed on Saturday that they are going to be a dangerous outfit in the top flight. They have momentum after winning promotion and they were clearly the side with confidence at Selhurst Park. The score-line didn’t flatter them and in truth, it could have been more.
It is often said that a side fighting relegation needs to have a good striker capable of scoring goals and Huddersfield seem to have that in Mounie. Although it is early days, he was very impressive in South London and caused problems for the Palace defence all afternoon with his movement. He is aware of what is going around him and his positioning couldn’t be faulted. Meanwhile, he possesses the pace and power to run in behind an opposing defence to stretch them, as he did a few times on Saturday.
The Benin international managed to score twice on his debut to put the result beyond doubt after the Terriers took the lead through an own goal. Mounie’s first was a powerful header, as he rose highest after a good cross from Aaron Mooy. The Palace marking was suspect, but nothing should be taken away from the striker as it was an emphatic finish and showed the confidence that he has after a big money move from Ligue 1.
Palace were still in the game at 0-2, but Mounie put the result beyond doubt with an excellent strike late in the second half. The ball was cut back to him and his finish was superb, to find the back of the net. It was an impressive first showing in front of goal, as he displayed confidence and composure, both of which are needed to be a good Premier League striker. Huddersfield were facing a difficult challenge at the beginning of the summer as they attempted to build a squad good enough to stay in the league. If all of the new recruits are as good as the 22-year-old striker, the scouts deserve a bonus.
His performance wasn’t all positive, but it would be unfair to expect him to deliver the perfect match on his Premier League debut. Mounie found himself through on goal when the score was at 0-2. He was hesitant and took a heavy touch to let Timothy Fosu-Mensah dispossess him. It was a great chance, but he couldn’t make the most of it. His pass success of 50% was slightly underwhelming, but he dominated in the air, with six successful aerial duels.
Huddersfield will be pleased by their first game and have the momentum to take back to the John Smith’s Stadium for the visit of Newcastle. Mounie will be an important player for them and based on this display, he will score goals if they create the chances for him. If he maintains this level of quality in front of goal, the Terriers will have a great chance of staying up.