Chelsea show the perfect response after Bournemouth nightmare in midweek
Gonzalo Higuaín scored his first Chelsea goals and Eden Hazard struck twice as the Blues moved back into the top four with a dominant victory over Huddersfield at Stamford Bridge.
The convincing win over the Premier League’s bottom-placed team was the perfect end to a troubling week for Maurizio Sarri and his team after the 4-0 loss to Bournemouth, their heaviest defeat in 23 years.
Higuain announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with this first goal for the club in the 16th after arriving on loan from Juventus during the January transfer window.
Played in a delightful reverse pass from N’Golo Kanté, the Argentinian International finished first time with a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Just before half-time, the hosts doubled their lead through a typical Eden Hazard penalty after César Azpilicueta was brought down in the box after a clumsy nudge from Elias Kachunga.
That was the first goal for the Belgian since Boxing Day, but didn’t have to wait as long for his next as coolly round the keeper on 66 minutes to make it 3-0.
Just three minutes later, Higuain doubled his tally for the club with a sensational first-time effort into the far corner from outside the penalty area.
David Luiz added a fifth in the closing stages of the match with a powerful header from a corner.
Chelsea now sit in fourth, three points ahead of Arsenal, who play Manchester City tomorrow before the Blues themselves visit the current Champions at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.
Possession (%) – Chelsea 65%, Huddersfield 35%
Shots – Chelsea 23, Huddersfield 5
Shots on Target – Chelsea 7, Huddersfield 2
Corners – Chelsea 11, Huddersfield 2
Fouls – Chelsea 8, Huddersfield 5
Offsides – Chelsea 2, Huddersfield 1
Yellow/Red Cards – Chelsea 0/0, Huddersfield 0/0
(Bonus Stat) 7 – N’Golo Kanté has now been directly involved in seven league goals this season; his largest contribution in a single Premier League campaign. BUT HE’S A DM APPARENTLY…
- Hazard masterclass. No top 4 without him, simple as that.
- Higuain announced himself today. Fantastic performance & double.
- If we had Higuain all season instead of Morata…
- Kante with TWO assists. BUT HE’S A DM APPARENTLY!?
- Christensen nothing less but rock solid at the back.
- Intensity, urgency, commitment, desire… FINALLY!
- Performances like this needed EVERY WEEK.
Chelsea Player/Manager Ratings
Arrizabalaga – 7, Quiet game again for our number one. Still hasn’t put a foot wrong in a Chelsea shirt. Crazy.
Azpilicueta – 7, Back to the usual consistent performance we usually expect from the captain. Good going forward as well from a defensive perspective.
Christensen – 8, Great performance from our Danish CB. The sort of performance/form we have been used to seeing before harshly becoming our third-choice centre-back at the start of the season. Assured, composed, rock solid.
David Luiz – 7, Typical David Luiz match. Shaky at the back, great on the ball, dangerous at set pieces. Great header for the fifth goal.
Alonso – 6, Undeservedly back into the first-team starting lineup ahead of Emerson and it clearly showed. Caught out of position multiple times and too slow to play this style of football.
Kante – 9, His best performance in his new (RCM) role in the team. Two assists, great pressing… a great all-round display.
Jorginho – 7, An assured and calm display from the Italian, showcasing what he offers to the team and silencing his doubters both in and out of Stamford Bridge.
Barkley – 8, A much-improved performance from the Englishman than in his recent weeks, capped with off a great assist for Hazard’s second goal of the game.
Willian – 6, The ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ reputation from the Brazilian is proven once again. Great performance against Sheffield Wednesday, very average today. CHO banging the door for his spot in the lineup now, surely?
Higuain – 9, Two great goals, great build-up play, worked himself into the ground… Fantastic performance from the Argentine. Alvaro who?
Hazard – 10. MOTM – A masterclass from the Belgian superstar and once again showed how influential and important he is to this team. Without him, achieving a top 4 place this season would be impossible.
Kovačić (70′ for Jorginho) – 6, Energetic twenty-minute display from the Croatian. Unlucky to not get his first goal for the club.
Hudson-Odoi (77′ for Hazard) – 6, A solid cameo from the youngster once again. Showed glimpses as to why he’s so highly regarded by everyone. Hopefully a start in a Premier League comes very soon.
Loftus-Cheek (83′ for Kante) – 6, Once again eased back into the team after his recent back injury. Will offer more once he’s back to full fitness.
Maurizio Sarri – 8, Appeared at first – pre-match – to have made mistakes with his choice of a starting lineup but was proven to be correct. A performance full of passion, desire, commitment, intensity was on show and this was a great way to end off a troubling week for the Head Coach. Hopefully, a third dressing room shakedown is not needed anytime soon.