A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s home match against Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town.
This Wednesday sees Chelsea play their second consecutive home league match in 4 days as they welcome Huddersfield Town. After 4 wins The Blues are closing in on both Tottenham and Liverpool who lie just above them in the Premier League.
The West Yorkshire club are in their first ever season in the Premier League and have enjoyed some fantastic results. However, all too often they have played some matches as though they are complete novices, including their home match against The Blues on a cold and wet mid December evening. Antonio Conte’s side cruised to a 3-0 lead without a recognised striker.
The Terriers have managed to battle their way to gather enough points that they still remain outside the relegation zone and only require one single point from their last 2 matches to guarantee what would be an impressive survival season. Last time out they managed to grind out a point away at newly crowned champions Manchester City.
Despite playing 3 key matches in a week, David Wagner will be hoping to change his team as little as possible from the line up that kept a clean sheet at the Etihad Stadium. Tom Ince should return to the squad, but The Terriers manager will be hoping defenders Chris Löwe and Terence Kongolo can recover from knocks to keep their places.
Wagner is likely to set his team up in a very defensive mode with a fairly flat back 5, who be be protected by 3 defensive central midfielders. They were very well organised and deserved their clean sheet against the new champions on Sunday.
Antonio Conte is generally expected to freshen up his side despite the need for all 3 points to maintain their run and challenge for a top 4 finish. Andreas Christensen, Davide Zappacosta, Pedro, Willian and a fit again Alvaro Morata could all feature. Whichever starting personnel Conte opts for they will need to press high and suffocate the visitors’s in possession.
On paper, it is the easiest match for The Blues on their run in to the end of the season and it should be a case of an early goal will lay the platform for a comfortable win. After all, The Terriers have only beaten Chelsea once in their last 14 matches in all competitions and they have not won away at the reigning top-flight champions since 1929. The key will be Chelsea’s ability to unlock what will likely to be an over manned defensive wall of players.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue