Goal difference restored!
After Wednesday’s abysmal loss at Bournemouth if there was a team that Chelsea would have wanted to play it would be bottom of the table Huddersfield at Stamford Bridge. A win was important but it was also highly important that Chelsea put a minimum of 4 goals past this Huddersfield side. Chelsea did just that as the players replied with a dominant win. With so many fixtures coming up in February Sarri chose not to risk injuries and so Rudiger and RLC were left on the bench. Kepa started in goal as usual with Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, and Alonso making up the back four. Jorginho, Kante, and Barkley made up the midfield, and Hazard Higuain, and Willian started up front.
Chelsea were slow to start as the play was sloppy between the players and passes were no reaching anywhere. Slowly Chelsea began to dominate the game and the players began to get in the mood. Higuain opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a classic first time finish from a brilliant through ball by Kante. Hazard then doubled the lead right before half time as Azpi was brought down in the box and the penalty was converted. Goals followed in the second half with Hazard making it 3-0 in the 66th minute after he rounded the goalie and slotted in from a tight angel, the pass from Barkley was brilliant as well. Higuain then added his second in the 69th minute after unleashing a 25 yard screamer that curled into the goal via a deflection. Luiz sealed the day with a powerful header in the 86th minute that was deflected in. The win helped restore our goal difference and added one more as we moved back into 4th for the weekend at least. Huddersfield are heading to the Championship and there probably wont be any miracle happening this year.
- Kepa – Nothing to say about Kepa, he had very little to do but another clean sheet to his name and that puts him in second behind Alisson.
- Azpilicueta – Good going forward and made a few crosses into the box. Solid defensively.
- Christensen – Playing in place of Rudiger but was dominant and similar to his early season form from last year.
- Luiz – Luiz was shaky at times but there is no arguing that his passes do a great deal for the team.
- Alonso – In a game that everyone played well Alonso was good as well and provided some decent crosses into the box.
- Jorginho – Dictated play once again, Mooy was tasked to man mark him but did not do a great job and Jorginho played some brilliant passes especially into the path of Higuain.
- Kante – One of the three best players on the pitch, Kante is never bad he is always good and most of the times brilliant. The pundits might continue to say that he should play CDM, but Kante has added an attacking threat to his play and 2 more assists in this game proved that.
- Barkley – In a game with so much space Barkley grew as the game went on and made some brilliant runs forward. A great assist for Hazard’s second goal.
- Willian – Willian was decent although CHO should start ahead of him. He at least created much more opportunities but was selfish on many occasions.
- Higuain – In his third start for Chelsea Higuain got his first goals as well. Higuain would have opened his account against Bournemouth itself if somebody would have spotted his numerous runs. This first goal was a classic Higuain finish, while the second showed a different aspect of his game. Higuain’s link up play with Hazard was also something that created expectation. With 90 minutes to his name Higuain goes again next Sunday at the Etihad.
- Hazard – Hazard has been under his fair share of criticism in recent weeks with me being one of them. In this game Hazard returned to his brilliant best, with dribbles that tore apart Huddersfield to his sublime finish for the second goal, Hazard was influential all over the pitch and man of the match.
- Kovacic – Came on for Jorginho in a position he might play more often for the rest of the season.
- Hudson-Odoi – Came on for Hazard and was decent although he should have come on for Willian 15 minutes earlier.
- Loftus-Cheek – Came on for Kante and played well as he still returns to full fitness. RLC will be very important over the next few weeks.
An important week of rest for the Chelsea players before another hectic period that starts with a trip to the Etihad in the Premier League next Sunday. The win should not be glorified as it was one that was expected but with the Chelsea players at times crumbling under expectation they still had to get the job done. Into 4th, 3 point clear of Arsenal, and 5 clear of United, hopefully it remains that way. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!