Huddersfield Town began this Premier League campaign in the worst way possible. Match day one spelled defeat as David Wagner and his wards were soundly beaten 3-0 in front of their home crowd. Chelsea did the inflicting. For match day 24, the Terriers travel to west London to face the same foe. For more reasons than one, this isn’t a trip that sparks excitement for the west Yorkshire side. More likely the exact opposite.
If Huddersfield could pick and choose fixtures to play at this moment, they surely wouldn’t choose to play a top-six Premier League side, desperate for a top-four finish. Confidence levels in Jan Siewert’s side are at an all-time low.
Since the start of the season, the Terriers have looked a shadow of themselves from last term. At this point in 2017/18, they were 14th in the League with a real chance of beating the drop, which they did. They’re currently bottom of the league without a glimmer of hope of staying in the top-tier beyond May 2019.
The Terriers just cannot win a game. Not even a scrappy one. They haven’t tasted the joy of victory since 25th November last year. Lowly Bristol City, from the Championship, heaped misery on Huddersfield Town when the sides met in the FA Cup third round. Only a draw at Cardiff ended a run of nine consecutive defeats. But they’ve started another streak after losing their last two games against Manchester City and Everton.
Huddersfield don’t know what to do to get goals. In fact, their top scorer in the league is a central defender, Zanka. Our algorithm shows he’s not even the most offensive defender you can have in your team. From the graphic below, he’s earned most of his points over the last six games for defensive actions (red dots). You can see there are only three important attacking actions (green dots) from the big Dane.
Against Chelsea, Zanka will be required to produce a defensive masterpiece to help his team. Not the sort of performance as seen against Manchester United where he scored but his team were beaten 3-1.
Not much to expect
Chelsea have lost their grip on that coveted fourth position. The Blues were beaten in their last two matches on the road, at Arsenal and Bournemouth, so will be hungry to return to winning ways in the Premier League. Despite beating Spurs to reach the Carabao Cup final, anything less than victory against Huddersfield will pile immense pressure on Maurizio Sarri.
The key man for this fixture is Eden Hazard. The Real Madrid-bound playmaker has been Chelsea’s attacking shining light in another inconsistent campaign for the Blues. With 10 goals and 10 assists in 23 league matches, he’s usually the guy to turn to when urgency and proficiency are needed in attack.
Jorginho also deserves a mention. The Italian hasn’t assisted or scored since his penalty against Saturday’s opponents at the Kirklees Stadium on match day one. However, his fluid, incisive passes and ability to control the tempo of the game sees him sit atop Chelsea’s attack leader board for the last six games.
That said, there isn’t much to expect from a Huddersfield standpoint. Chelsea should end up dominating the bottom boys by creating too many chances and outscoring their Championship-bound opponents. The Terriers are the undisputed underdogs in this encounter. Their best bet is to mount a defensive wall and hope things don’t fall apart too quickly.