There was, in truth, only one real choice for Manager of the Month in the Premier League after the opening three matches. While there are seven teams yet to lose, and plenty with better goal differences or more eye-catching performances, nobody has quite set about turning the narrative surrounding their club on its head like David Wagner and Huddersfield Town have. Before a ball had even been kicked this season, Huddersfield were written off as certainties for relegation. Little attention was paid to how the club played, how they'd recruited or, most importantly, the ability of the head coach - that's no longer quite the secret it once was.
Some have, amusingly, complained about the award being sent to West Yorkshire, pointing to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United's perfect start to the season as a more impressive accomplishment. They are, of course, misguided in their ire. While there's no denying that nine points are better than seven and keeping three clean sheets on the trot is an impressive achievement, when looked at after considering the wider context of both sets of results, there can be no denial that the correct decision was made. The money that they have spent aside, Manchester United have had the benefit of facing three sides who were clearly inferior to them, and they've yet to face opposition of a level worthy of testing them properly.
Huddersfield, however, have come up against three sides that most assumed would be better than them, and could've quite easily come through those matches with maximum points had Fraser Forster not made the saves he did in the first half against Southampton last time out. This award, as David Wagner has eluded to himself, underlines not only his own coaching success, but the success of how the club has conducted itself as a whole since being promoted. It can't be understated just how much work had be done in such a small amount of time to prepare the club to make the leap from the Championship both on and off the field, and for that to have resulted in such an impressive start is nothing short of remarkable.
Taking the results so far in isolation, too, there's no hint of fluke or good luck in anything that's come so far. Crystal Palace started brightly against Town, full of promise under a new manager and playing in front of a crowd who were encouraging them to chance their arm. To have taken that game by the scruff of the neck in the fashion they did on their debut in the division and dispatch Palace with such precision and ruthlessness may look obvious now given how Frank de Boer has fared since, but at the time, nobody knew that their struggles were going to be so extensive. There is, should you wish, a case to be made for their season starting far differently should they have kicked on against Huddersfield and built up their confidence, but they were never given the chance.
Again, in the first home match against Newcastle, they were coming face-to-face with a side who'd beaten them with some degree of comfort less than six months beforehand, but showed the growth to overcome that this time around. Not only were Town the smarter, more proactive side on the field, but tactically speaking, David Wagner and his team quickly learned from what Rafael Benitez had done to them previously - and was attempting to do again - reacting as needed to get the desired result. Newcastle may have their fair share of internal problems, but that's nothing new compared to last season, and far from the primary reason they were so clearly second best to Huddersfield on this occasion.
Frustratingly, in their most difficult game of the season to date on paper against Southampton, they just couldn't make the telling play to open the scoring, which should have set them on their way to victory. That said, however, Saints are a side many expect to finish well within the top half of the table, and are in no way considered to be candidates for relegation, so Town's ability to stand toe-to-toe with them, trade blows and still look like the better side carries with it no shame whatsoever. Nobody looked at these three fixtures and thought Huddersfield had an easy start, so to move the goalposts now and attempt to detract from their achievement because they've exceeded expectation doesn't seem very fair, to me.
No part of what David Wagner has taken the lead on with Huddersfield can be written off as artificial success, and there's no finer example than how the club went about their business this summer. Without the proactive, cohesive and thoroughly effective attitude the entire club employed behind-the-scenes this summer to get as much business done as possible as efficiently as possible, the team and squad wouldn't be where it is in the Premier League, and Wagner would not have this award. There are teams with infinitely bigger budgets and years more experience than Town at recruiting for the top flight, but few were as effective in the transfer market, and nobody had as much work to do as Huddersfield where making their team Premier League ready was concerned.
Despite this deserved recognition - which, if anything, has been some time coming - those who have followed Town in recent times will no that this does not allow a slip in standards, and the club will still be working as hard as ever to push themselves onward and upwards. Rather than behaving as if they've got to where they want to, Wagner treats accolades such as this as validation of the work he, his staff and his players do together. We always knew that, should things go to plan, Wagner's reputation would balloon yet again in the Premier League, and this looks like it will only be the first of many signs that he is destined for the very highest reaches of the game. Since arriving at Huddersfield, there hasn't been a single hurdle that Wagner has failed to clear, and while there have been the occasional bump or scrape on the way through, they have always been learnt from, and never repeated.
It's not often the right people win awards in any walk of life. Sometimes there's a better story, popularity plays a factor or there's good old fashioned favouritism - but on this occasion, David Wagner, and David Wagner only, is the correct recipient of this accolade. For all of the reasons above and more, what he and Huddersfield Town are doing together remains special, and while that brings with it the additional pressure of expectation, they deserve their chance to have the limelight shone on them, and the work they've done highlighted for those who're still too blinkered to fully acknowledge what has happened at this club in what is fast approaching two years.
Last season, David Wagner was also the Championship's Manager of the Month for August, and we all know how that season ended - yet again, this award marks what is sure to be only the beginning.
You can follow Raj Bains on Twitter over on @BainsXIII , and his Huddersfield Town book Underdog is being published in October 2017. It is available to order now, with the opportunity to have the name of your choice printed in a fans list at the back of the book. Please visit www.gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056.