The last time these two met, one celebrated survival, the other was in despair of missing out on the Champions League. With the Sarri era on the horizon, a new ambitious journey was about to begin for the Blues. For Huddersfield, their journey was simple; survive. A lot easier said then done.
Put it simply, it was a match of two halves. First half was all Huddersfield, Second was Chelsea. In the end, it came down to the side that was more critical. In the early stages, it seemed Huddersfield were bound to take the lead due to creating decent opportunities including one that hit the post. Despite dominating possession, Chelsea struggled to create an opportunity, managing not a single shot on or off goal. However, that changed in the thirty-fourth minute with Willian providing a cross in the box to Kante who lobbed it over the keeper to give the visitors the lead they probably didn’t deserve. On the stroke of half time, Marcos Alonso was taken out in the box with Jorginho converting the penalty in a neat fashion. Despite trailing by two goals at the break, Huddersfield had put in a good performance and Wagner probably felt his side deserved at least a goal for their efforts.
The second term was pure domination from Chelsea with the visitors implementing the Sarri-Ball style by constantly creating opportunities and quickly applying pressure onto their opposition. Finally in the 80th minute saw Eden Hazard produce a beautiful run before passing it to Pedro who calmly placed it in the goal to secure the three points for the Blues. With the fulltime score ending 0-3 to Chelsea, here are the five talking points from the match.
1. CHELSEA NEED TIME.
Greatness doesn’t happen overnight. Neither will Sarri-Ball. It was evident in the first half the Blues were struggling to obtain a single shot on and/or off target which is something quite unusual for a team with that caliber. I mean after playing in a defensive system for most of the last two seasons, you lose a sense of playing in a attacking based system. With Kante moving to a more advanced role thanks to the addition of Italian midfielder Jorginho and the Blues converting to a back four for the first time in twenty-three months, these are just some of the numerous adjustments the team will have to adapt to overtime.
2. FATAL ATTACK.
The real killer for both sides this season will be their options upfront. Neither side have a prolific number nine they can rely on to bang in goals left, right and centre. Huddersfield had the worst attack in the league last season only managing to produce 28 goals (on par with Swansea City who were relegated) with their main striker Steve Mounie only managing to produce seven goals off forty-nine shots. Once again Mounie failed to convert golden opportunities which makes you wonder why the club didn’t invest more into acquiring a player that can get the job done.
For Chelsea, the situation is no better. The arrival of Alvaro Morata last season who previously impressed at Juventus and Real Madrid, fans were expecting a man that would at least fill the void of Diego Costa. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Despite his positive start, the Spaniard endured a poor run before succumbing to an injury which saw him on the sidelines for a few weeks. With Michy Batshuayi killing it at Dortmund and the acquisition of Oliver Giroud, it was expected Morata would finally rise to the occasion to show the world why he’s the prolific number nine of Chelsea. Again, that wasn’t the case and eventually he slid down the pecking order behind Giroud. Last night’s match was no different to last season. Morata isn’t the only issue. It’s the forward options as a whole that is really concerning for Chelsea. With Michy Batshuayi loaned out to Valencia, a failed pursuit for Gonzalo Higuain, Morata, Giroud and Abraham are the men Chelsea have to rely on to get the job done upfront. Like Huddersfield, it makes you wonder how in the world the club didn’t acquire someone that brings goals, goals and more goals.
3. TURN UP THE MOOY.
Last season Aaron Mooy was the heart and soul of Huddersfield and yesterday was no different. Whether he’s orchestrating the midfield, taking a corner or free kick, dropping back to defend, Huddersfield would be lost without their main man. Once again Mooy put in a positive performance but in the end the opposition was too much. However, if Huddersfield are to survive relegation, they’ll need their number ten to step up and have an extraordinary season.
4. MORATA MUST PREVAIL.
Another day, another match without a goal for Alvaro Morata. But don’t write him off just yet. His performances have been underwhelming during his time for Chelsea but yesterday there were positive signs. Take away the fact he didn’t score and received no service in the first half, he seemed to have gotten everything else right. Like with most things for Chelsea this season, time will only tell whether the Spaniard can transform into the prolific striker the club desperately need.
5. KEPA THE FUTURE.
He’s only been a Chelsea player for a few days now but Kepa had a solid debut. He was only really tested on a couple of occasions making some fine saves but other than that, he looked pretty comfortable in goal. With Courtois now with Real Madrid, the question is can Kepa step-up and fill Belgian’s shoes or more importantly become better? We’ll find out in time starting with Arsenal next weekend.