David Wagner finds himself in the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s match.
A win would take Huddersfield level on points with Newcastle who are currently 15th, whilst a defeat would then pile even more pressure on them as they then face another crucial home relegation clash with Southampton before Christmas.
Huddersfield are one of the few clubs to arguably have an even smaller/weaker Premier League squad than Rafa Benitez has, despite a net spend of around £78m since promotion – compared to zero for Rafa at NUFC.
So the last thing David Wagner needed was a host of injury problems going into this busy festive period of matches.
Huddersfield were unlucky to lose to a late Arsenal goal but that battling performance looks to have seen them pay a high price.
Midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri was already ruled out until next February following an operation to repair his broken collarbone which he picked up against Bournemouth in the previous game.
Then on Saturday, Wagner found that four players had come out of the Arsenal match with injuries.
Their playmaker and best player, Aaron Mooy, is ruled out until February after picking up a knee ligament injury, whilst club captain Tommy Smith has torn his hamstring and was forced off during that defeat at the Emirates, he also won’t be playing again until sometime in 2019.
To add to the post-Arsenal problems, £18m club record signing defender Terence Kongolo (knee) and Jonathan Hogg (groin) both picked up knocks against Arsenal and are big doubts for Saturday as well.
David Wagner told the official Huddersfield site:
“The news on both Aaron and Tommy is not something we wanted, but injuries are part of football; we have to deal with it, manage it and carry on into this important December period.
“Aaron and Tommy are both strong characters and will work very hard in their recovery. We look forward to having them back.
“For now, this creates opportunities for others. I’ve said all along that we will need everyone in the squad to contribute and now we should see the benefits of having such a competitive squad.”
Whilst Aaron Mooy also spoke about his disappointment at being ruled out for Newcastle and the other games that follow:
“I’m gutted to be missing an important time for Club and Country.
“We’ve got a lot of fixtures over the Christmas period at Huddersfield Town, but I back the team to continue our good performances and get the results that we’re targeting.
“I’m also sad that this injury will rule me out of the Asian Cup. I’d like to wish the Socceroos all the best as they head to the UAE; I’ll be supporting them from afar.
“The hard work on my recovery has already started and I’m looking forward to being back out on the pitch.”
Not wishing anybody bad luck but Huddersfield are one of the clubs that Newcastle have to look to finish ahead of and a win for Rafa’s players would put them six points above Wagner’s team and potentially the same number of points above the relegation zone as well.