PMB: Huddersfield v Chelsea - history and tactics

Ahead of tonight’s game in Yorkshire, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton take a look at old meetings with the Terriers and the one to be played…  

We Have History

It is getting on for 50 years since Chelsea last played at Huddersfield Town in the top flight. Leeds Road, the Terriers’ home for almost a century prior to the new Kirklees Stadium being completed in 1994, was the venue for the Blues’ visit on 28 August 1971. 

Not for the first or last time the Blues’ back-to-back trophy-winning manager Dave Sexton was struggling to maintain harmony in the dressing room. Fan protests had greeted the transfer-listing of Peter Osgood (pictured right) for ‘lack of effort’ but Sexton selected his star striker for the fifth game running. The previous four had not produced a win, but that was to change against Ian Greaves’ side, which boasted the mercurial Frank Worthington.

It was Worthington who started and finished the move that put the Terriers’ noses in front. The Chelsea ’keeper John Phillips diverted the striker’s edge-of-the-box finish but could not keep it out.

A minute later a disputed penalty restored parity. Roger Kirkpatrick, habitually prefixed ‘roly-poly ref’, took a hard line in the game and when overlapping right-back Paddy Mulligan’s cross struck the hand of Roy Ellam, a few yards away, no mercy was shown. John Hollins smashed the spot-kick past Gary Pierce and the game turned.

In the second half, wizard of the dribble Charlie Cooke took the game to the Terriers through midfield, and with a quarter of an hour to go his searching ball found Ossie’s head. The centre-forward, languid for most of the game, sent the goalie the wrong way with a typically brilliant and graceful near-post header, 2-1 the final score.  

The line-ups were:

Huddersfield: Gary Pierce; Dennis Clarke, Geoff Hutt, Jimmy McGill, Roy Ellam, Trevor Cherry, Bobby Hoy, Dick Krzywicki, Frank Worthington, Jimmy Lawson, Dave Smith. Manager: Ian Greaves

Scorer: Worthington 21

Chelsea: John Phillips; Paddy Mulligan, Ron Harris, John Hollins, John Dempsey, David Webb, Charlie Cooke, Alan Hudson, Peter Osgood, Peter Houseman, John Boyle. Manager: Dave Sexton

Scorers: Hollins 23 pen, Osgood 76

Attendance: 15,303


Seventy-one years ago this month, Tommy Lawton’s hat-trick put Chelsea on the way to our record victory on the same ground – 4-1 – and helped him match George Hilsdon’s club record for goals in a Division One season of 26. 

The Blues visited Huddersfield more recently in October of the 1983/84 Division Two promotion campaign under John Neal. The match was won 3-2 thanks to a brace from the unstoppable Kerry Dixon and the first of the season for winger Paul Canoville.

Paul Canoville takes on Huddersfield in 1983

There have been cup encounters since then, the most recent coming at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fifth round in 2008. Avram Grant’s side won 3-1 with two goals from Frank Lampard and one from Salomon Kalou. Current assistant Carlo Cudicini was in goal for the Blues that day.

Huddersfield last tasted victory against the Blues in 1962/63 in the old Second Division.

Our past 10 league meetings at Huddersfield (Leeds Road)
1949/50 Chelsea won 2-1Division One
1950/51 Huddersfield won 2-1Division One
1951/52 Huddersfield won 1-0Division One
1953/54 Huddersfield won 3-1Division One
1954/55 Huddersfield won 1-0Division One
1955/56 Chelsea won 3-1Division One
1962/63 Huddersfield won 1-0Division Two
1970/71 Chelsea won 1-0Division One
1971/72 Chelsea won 2-1Division One
1983/84 Chelsea won 3-2Division Two

Biggest league win at Huddersfield for each team

14/12/1946 - Huddersfield 1-4 Chelsea

04/09/1933 - Huddersfield 6-1 Chelsea    




•            With just two full days preparation after disappointment at West Ham, Antonio Conte has said he will rotate his squad again for the trip to West Yorkshire. The fever that affected Danny Drinkwater in the lead-up to that defeat has abated but injured David Luiz and Alvaro Morata are to miss out for the Blues this evening.

•            The Italian will demand a much smarter start from his players than the weekend, where the price was almost immediately paid. The head coach attempted to freshen up personnel and playing approach by replacing both wing-backs and moving from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3. The champions were more on the front foot following the changes, and bearing in mind Huddersfield are likely to press high as well as defending in numbers, he may stick with the formation that won the title last season. 

•            West Ham selected players of height and power against the Blues, pushing four players up when in possession, and hitting long diagonal passes, or running with the ball from deep when they had the chance. Both strategies caused the Blues problems early in the game and others may try to follow the formula.

•            Former Dortmund second-team coach David Wagner hailed the Terriers’ 2-0 home win against Brighton at the weekend as their best attacking performance of the season. They pressed very high up the field throughout the match, the idea being to shorten the route to the Albion goal as well as to keep the ball away from their own.

•            When Manchester United visited in October, the Terriers used a 4-1-4-1 formation and, with their tails up, played direct football to great success. Their first goal came when Aaron Mooy completed a swift counter after Juan Mata had been robbed, and the second evolved from a long ball by goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. Man United centre-back Victor Lindelhof missed the ball, allowing Town’s regular striker Laurent Depoitre to pass into the net.   

•            United’s late goal was a suggestion the hosts’ redoubtable, well-organised defence can be undone by moments of quality, and they have lost five of their seven league games since, conceding 16 goals in the process.

•            Between the recent losses at Arsenal and Everton, two days apart, Wagner made four selection changes, as well as formation switches between 3-4-2-1 and 4-2-3-1, and is likely to do similar tonight. Lively Netherlands winger Rajiv van la Parra is available for selection after a three-match suspension, which may allow DR Congo’s Elias Kachunga to return to the right flank.





David Luiz (knee)

Alvaro Morata (back)




Huddersfield Town


Philip Billing (ankle)

Michael Hefele (Achilles)

Jon Stankovic (acl)


Martin Cranie (ankle)




Kasey Palmer (regulations of loan)