Chelsea produced a classy display to comfortably beat Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium and move level on points with second place Manchester United.
Chelsea suffered a blow before the game after top scorer Alvaro Morata was ruled out with a back injury, and the first half was a tense affair, with very little in it for the first 20 minutes besides Pedro’s disallowed goal in the first five minutes. Neither team had any notable chances until Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl gifted possession to Chelsea in a dangerous position from a terrible clearance.
Tiemoue Bakayoko had come under heavy criticism after some poor displays recently, but the Frenchman was very sharp after being played in by Willian and calmly dinked over Lossl for a well needed personal boost and a lovely goal in a game which had little quality in the final third up to that point. Replays appeared to show defender Chris Lowe may have diverted the ball in for an own goal, but Bakayoko will be keen to claim it.
After the respectable start the hosts had made, it was all Chelsea from there as the Terriers struggled to keep possession and to even get out of their own half, though the champions often found a Huddersfield man in the way despite completely dominating the ball.
That did change a few minutes before half-time when Marcos Alonso’s excellent cross was met by Willian, the Brazilian heading home his fifth goal of the season to give the scoreline a more realistic scoreline based on their dominance in the first period.
The second half started in the same way, and the champions continued their clinical display after another Alonso cross fell to Willian, this time the Brazilian being forced to lay it off to Pedro and the Spaniard hit an outstanding first time shot in the top corner past Jonas Lossl and end all but ended any lingering hopes of a Huddersfield comeback as the Terriers struggled to get any sort of rhythm going.
However, following near misses from Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, Tom Ince produced Huddersfield’s best chance of the night when he beat a Blues defender and ran through on goal, but his attempt at a dink was well saved by Thibaut Courtois, the Belgian’s first save of the night.
That chance seemed to inspire the hosts as they steadily improved with better passing and a more composed style as centre back Mathias Jorgensen tried his luck from 30 yards out and narrowly fired his shot over the bar in what would have easily been one of the goals of the season.
Despite the ease in which the champions brushed aside their hosts, the home fans were in great voice as they got behind their team regardless of the scoreline as they seemed to accept they were just beaten by a much better team.
They did get some reward for their own support and the team’s fighting spirit as substitute Laurent Depoitre got ahead of Antonio Rudiger to head home a superb consolation in the last kick of the game.
The result takes the reigning champions level on 35 points with second place Manchester United, but are seven goals worse off than the Red Devils, who host Bournemouth tomorrow night. As for Huddersfield, they remain 12th in the table after a game where there were some positives to take from a spirited display, but ultimately which they were outplayed in every department.