Report: Huddersfield Town 1 Chelsea 3
news Tue 12 Dec 2017
Antonio Conte’s men bounced back in style from defeat at the weekend with a very comfortable victory against a side who had won three of their previous four home league games.
Tiemoue Bakayoko’s impressive second Premier League goal set us on our way and a maiden header in the competition from Willian doubled the advantage before half-time. Pedro completed the Chelsea scoring with a sharp strike and there could have been more. At the other end, we were denied a first clean sheet in four outings by a goal conceded in the dying seconds. The three points move us level with second-place Manchester United ahead of their hosting of Bournemouth 24 hours later.
The team selection options for Conte for this game were limited by Alvaro Morata not being fit enough to travel to West Yorkshire, but three days after defeat at West Ham the boss did manage a degree of rotation, choosing Eden Hazard to spearhead a three-man attack flanked by Willian and Pedro. In defence, Toni Rudiger returned with Gary Cahill given a rest. Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso were the wing-backs and both had influential games.
Key to this win was not suffering a damaging early goal again, and in truth we never really looked like conceding at any time in the first half. Going forward, there was no shortage of Chelsea players on the ball at the start of that 45 minutes, but the offside flag thwarted our early attacks.
Huddersfield’s first two attempts to put pressure on the Chelsea goal came to little as Cesar Azpilicueta blocked an Aaron Mooy shot, and Andreas Christensen calmly dealt with a chase with Elias Kachunga for a ball played behind our defence.
As the half moved towards its mid point, Jonas Lossl in the Terriers’ goal was a little fortunate to get away with punching a Moses cross low into a crowd of players, but he would soon make a far more costly mistake.
It was the home side who seemed to be finding more difficulty with the very soggy conditions and there had been a few slipping around prior to the Terriers’ keeper doing so as he kicked the ball out. Moses collected the misdirected punt and played the ball into the penalty area where Hazard and Willian kept it moving quickly. Huddersfield centre-back Mathias Zanka had no answer to Bakayoko’s surge round the outside of him, and the Frenchman completed the job with a sweet strike. Chris Lowe had got back on the line but could not keep the ball out. 1-0 Chelsea.
The home side were not pressing the Blues when we had the ball at the back, instead preferring to line up banks of four and five players deep in their half. Consequently, we had a lot of our players deep in their half a lot of the time, and we found openings.
Unfortunately, Kante could not keep a half-volley down when a free-kick from out wide fell his way. Another Willian delivery, this time from the other flank, was met by the head of Bakayoko five minutes before the interval but this time he could not hit the target.
There was to be a second goal before the break however – scored in open play. Marcos Alonso had been finding space all game long and when he controlled Azpilicueta’s crossfield pass with one touch and sent over a great cross with his second, Willian completed the job at the far post like a seasoned centre-forward. Huddersfield afforded him the space for a downward header.
Pedro should have made it 3-0 moments later as the Blues tore the home defence apart after we had been gifted the ball, but Lossl made a one-on-one save.
It took only five minutes of the second half for the Spaniard to remedy that missed chance. Again Alonso was allowed to cross without much pressure, and although Willian did not kill the ball initially, Huddersfield missed their chance to clear as he laid it backwards for Pedro to lash the ball home from the edge of the area.
Hazard had a shot saved at the near post before, on the hour, Courtois was properly tested for the first time. In fact Tom Ince managed to force the ball past our keeper but the composed Christensen was back to head it away. Zanka struck a Huddersfield shot from distance that cleared the bar.
Pedro did similar as Chelsea went in search of a fourth goal, and he shot wide at the end of a rapid break by the Blues after another Terrier slipped to the turf.
The one blot on the performance came right at the end. Courtois had just made a good save down at the post when substitute Laurent Depoitre got in front of Rudiger to head a cross into the net. It was a good goal, but Courtois' visible frustration with conceding with seconds left was understandable.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen (Ampadu 79), Rudiger; Moses, Kante (Drinkwater 71), Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard (Batshuayi 68), Pedro.
Unused subs Caballero, Cahill, Fabregas, Musonda.
Scorers Bakayoko 23, Willian 43, Pedro 50.
Huddersfield (4-1-4-1): Lossl; Smith (c), Zanka, Schindler, Lowe (Hadergjonaj 67); Hogg (Whitehead h-t); Kachunga, Williams, Mooy, Ince; Mounie (Depoitre 74).
Unused subs Coleman, Cranie, Van La Parra, Quaner.
Scorer Depoitre 90+2
Referee Andre Marriner