Kante & Jorginho score as Sarri’s Chelsea start strong
Sarri will certainly be pleased with how his side performed in the second half, and how much quicker their attacking moves were.
Unsurprisingly, Hazard made a big impact after coming off the substitutes’ bench, while the likes of Rudiger, Kante and Alonso also impressed.
It’s a bruising opening weekend defeat for Huddersfield, who were second best from start to finish and never looked like avoiding defeat. Chelsea weren’t at their best during the first half but were much better on the break, and they were comfortably able to keep their struggling opponents at bay before Pedro wrapped up the win.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Huddersfield (3-5-2): Hamer, Jorgensen, Schindler, Kongolo, Hadergjonaj, Mooy, Hogg, Billing, Lowe (Diakhaby 71), Pritchard (Depoitre 46), Mounie;
Subs not used: Lossl, Smith, Sobhi, van La Parra,Stankovic
Booked: Schindler, Kongolo
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 68), Kante, Jorginho, Willian (Hazard 76), Morata, Pedro (Moses 81);
Subs not used: Caballero, Giroud, Zappacosta, Christensen
Goalscorers: Kante (34), Jorginho (45), Pedro (80)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
That they found themselves 2-0 up at half time despite having been out thought for much of the half was not a travesty. They have excellent players who invariably can dig a manager out of such holes. But it was in no way a reflection of the balance of play.
David Wagner’s system, with three at the back, had his full backs Chris Lowe and Florent Hadergjonaj pushing so high when Huddersfield had the ball, that Chelsea found themselves outnumbered in midfield.
Ironically, it was similar in some respects to the system that Chelsea used under Antonio Conte and the team looked a little lost with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso now playing significantly deeper as full backs.
But, if Huddersfield took the tactical plaudits, Chelsea’s class ultimately made the difference. Sarri’s team may be a prototype at present and this a stuttering test drive. But when the engine did splutter into life, you could see how they ought to function. And how impressive they might be.