Ian Maatsen’s goal in the 18th minute was the difference, on an evening where a strong Burnley following got their first glimpse of what Kompany’s side are going to be all about.
The style of play adopted by Burnley in the top-flight was often branded “anti-football” and what was produced from the first whistle tonight was the polar opposite, as Kompany’s new-look unit played themselves out of trouble and into space time and time again.
A vocal away end pointed to their evolution on the pitch during the opening exchanges, albeit with a touch of sarcasm.
Tom Lees blocked Ashley Barnes early on, before Maatsen produced the first of his galloping runs down the left. The equally impressive Josh Cullen curling into Lee Nicholls’ arms as a result of that.
Maatsen taking up advanced positions from left-back was Burnley’s way of creating width in a narrow system and, after finding space in the box, the new recruit curled a right-footed shot beyond Nicholls after a ricochet fell his way.
Nicholls denied a second marauding Burnley full-back moments later, quickly advancing off his line to meet Connor Roberts’ shot after Cullen’s pick out.
Huddersfield were rocked and looking very much like a side with a play-off hangover, mixed with the chaos a surprise change of head coach creates. Dara Costelloe was the next Burnley player failing to punish Danny Schofield’s side, shooting off-target after more good Maatsen work.
— Alfie Burns (@BurnsAlfie) July 29, 2022
There was an improved period for Huddersfield after half-time, fuelled by the introduction of Jack Rudoni and Tino Anjorin.
Yet, there was a lack of action for Arijanet Muric in the Burnley goal, with it actually Josh Brownhill with the game’s most meaningful shot heading into the final 20 minutes, rifling from distance into the away end.
Nicholls held a Taylor Harwood-Bellis header, Maatsen’s ambitious effort fizzed off-target and Scott Twine stepped off the bench to whip a free-kick off the post.
Burnley’s second-half didn’t quite have the same zip and style as their first, with Kompany’s side almost having to use the closing stages to win ugly.
Ultimately, it was what went before that got Burnley off to the perfect start under Kompany, as they hope to wave goodbye to the anti-football era and move into a season of style.
FT: Huddersfield Town 0-1 Burnley.