Huddersfield Town 4-1 Bournemouth: Alex Pritchard steals plaudits after running the show
Huddersfield Town produced a four-star performance to brush aside Bournemouth and move out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Junior Stanislas quickly cancelled out Alex Pritchard’s seventh-minute opener, but from that moment it was one-way traffic as the Terriers showed their bite on a freezing afternoon in Yorkshire.
A Steve Cook own goal made it 2-1 at half-time before Steve Mounie and a stoppage-time penalty from Rajiv van la Parra completed the drubbing.
Huddersfield climbed to 17th as a result of this much-needed victory, while Bournemouth’s excellent recent form came to an abrupt halt with their first defeat of 2018.
Here are three talking points…
Huddersfield breathe new life into survival bid
Boss David Wagner had highlighted his side’s upcoming run of fixtures as crucial to their ambitions of avoiding relegation back to the Championship.
On the back of five consecutive defeats, Huddersfield had free-fallen into the drop-zone.
Although the win over Manchester United will take some beating in the eyes of the fans, given their predicament this was arguably their most important three points of the campaign.
It was a crushing triumph and one that the Terriers fully deserved.
Yes, they caught the visitors on a bad day, but much of that was due to the nature of Huddersfield’s display.
They gave Bournemouth no time on the ball to play their natural passing game and took their chances when they came along.
Especially from set-pieces, Wagner’s men looked dangerous and exploited the Cherries’ weakness in the air.
The bottom half of the table remains incredibly congested, but this result gives Huddersfield genuine hope that survival is possible.
Bournemouth’s unbeaten run comes to a crashing end
Entering this match at the top of the form table, this was Bournemouth’s worst result of the season.
From the first whistle they were out-battled by a Huddersfield side that were fighting for their lives.
Perhaps an air of complacency had surfaced following the Cherries’ unbeaten sequence, which had stood at seven games and included victories over Chelsea and Arsenal.
Talk of qualifying for the Europa League can now be parked to one side.
Despite being in 10th position, Bournemouth are not assured of survival just yet.
Boss Eddie Howe will back his troops to get the three wins they need to reach the 40-point mark, but this was a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted in the Premier League.
He will be thoroughly bemused by this showing.
It was a day to forget for the Cherries and their dedicated supporters, who had left in the very early hours to embark on the long journey north for this lunch-time kick-off.
Pritchard brings ingenuity to the Terriers’ ranks
Although Huddersfield’s win was a by-product of a real team effort, one player that deserves special praise is new recruit Pritchard.
Signed from Norwich City in the January window, he ran the show in midfield, making the Terriers tick with crisp passing.
Pritchard opened the scoring in the early exchanges with a well-taken finish for his first ever Premier League goal, at the seventh attempt.
He had previously played in the top-flight with Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.
There is always a risk attached to any new signing from a lower division, but Pritchard had demonstrated enough class for Norwich to indicate he would be able to make the step-up.
The 24-year-old will face tougher challenges in his midfield role, but he has brought a touch of guile and class to Huddersfield.
Pritchard’s teasing run that induced the foul for a penalty in added-time underlined his capability to make things happen.
Wagner will hope it is a positive sign for the run-in.
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