Review: Huddersfield – Chelsea

N’Golo Kante, Jorginho (pen.) and Pedro scored the three goals for Chelsea in their 3-0 win at Huddersfield in Maurizio Sarri’s first Premier League game.

Huddersfield – Chelsea starting lineups

Huddersfield: Hamer, Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo, Hadergjonaj, Lowe, Hogg, Billing, Mooy, Pritchard, Mounie
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, D. Luiz, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Willian, Pedro, Morata

Half of the first period went by without a single serious threat on either side. Chelsea looked far from a team ready to compete for a Champions League spot, while Huddersfield were playing it safe, testing The Blues’ strength. Willian was the only visiting player who was actively seeking to create something. David Wagner’s players weren’t leaving any breathing room, putting pressure deep in Chelsea’s own half. In the 34th minute, the motivated Willian, who was playing on the left side today, made a couple of dribble moves before sending a pacy cross that came to N’Golo Kante. He didn’t catch the ball cleanly on his volley attempt, but nonetheless, he scored.

It was an unexpected turn of events for the home team, as the goal came just as they started to gain confidence. In the 38th minute, Huddersfield hit the post following a corner kick. Steve Mounie was the one who got at the end of a redirected ball, but wasn’t lucky enough to put it past Kepa. In the 44th minute, Schindler’s risky sliding challenge inside his own penalty area didn’t pay off. He missed the ball and kicked Marcos Alonso, giving every right to referee Chris Kavanagh to show on the spot. Jorginho took the penalty with utmost confidence, fooling Hamer and giving his new team a 2-0 advantage. That was it for the first half.

Laurent Depoitre, who scored in both games against Chelsea last season, replaced Alex Pritchard at the half. In the 57th minute, Ben Hamer had to stretch in order to save Rudiger’s header after a Chelsea corner kick. Then, on the next corner kick, Marcos Alonso hit the top of the cross bar with an attractive overhead kick. In the 64th minute, Alonso had a free kick from a good position, but his shot was a bit too high. Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Ross Barkley was Maurizio Sarri’s first bench move.

Adama Diakhaby for Chris Lowe and Eden Hazard for Willian were the next two substitutions. It didn’t take long for Hazard to make his presence felt. He broke away from three defenders at midfield and spearheaded a 3-on-2 attack which ended with Pedro tipping the ball over Hamer for a 3-0 Chelsea lead.

Right after the goal, Pedro was replaced by Victor Moses. In the 84th minute, Hazard hit the wall on a free kick from about 18 meters out. The result remained the same until the final whistle. It was a very poor performance against a rather average Chelsea side for Wagner’s squad. Terriers fans have every right to be concerned about the team’s PL outlook this season. Meanwhile, Sarri will be delighted with the result in his first game in charge of The Blues.

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