Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 10/11
Traveling up to West Yorkshire on Tuesday night, Antonio Conte will be desperate to get his defending champions back on track. With their priority now on simply securing a top-four finish, Chelsea will visit the John Smith’s Stadium to face a Huddersfield side who ended their run of four consecutive defeats last weekend.
After securing a crucial 2-0 win over fellow promotees Brighton last weekend, Huddersfield will be feeling confident ahead of the arrival of the defending Champions. With Steve Mounie scoring a brace for the Terriers in last weekends victory, Huddersfield ended a run of four losses on the bounce. Although they might be a side with only one win since the start of November, the Huddersfield fans will still be overjoyed with their start among England’s elite. Currently sat 12th in the table, not only are Huddersfield the highest ranked of the Premier League newcomers, David Wagner’s side are only a single point from breaking into the top half of the table.
For the Terriers, they will be hoping to pull off a second historical win at the John Smith Stadium before 2017 comes to and end. At the end of October, Huddersfield secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Manchester United and showed they are not a side to go down without a fight. After scoring two last weekend, Wagner will be hoping this will see an improvement to their form in front of goal. In their last seven Premier League appearances, the Terriers have only managed to score four times, more worryingly, Huddersfield have leaked 16 in reply.
David Wagner has no fresh injury concerns to contend with in midweek, but the visit of Chelsea will come too soon for Michael Hefele who continues to overcome an Achilles injury.
The Huddersfield boss could look to continue with his rotation policy, meaning that last weekends match winner Steve Mounie could be replaced by summer signing Laurent Depoitre. Midfielder Rajiv Van La Parra has now completed his three-match suspension and could replace Collin Quaner.
Although last weekends shock 1-0 defeat away at West Ham may have been Chelsea’s first Premier League defeat since the middle of October, Antonio Conte’s side have a feel of a club in crisis. The defending champions are now sat third in the table and are already 14 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City. This season it isn’t just domestically where Chelsea have begun to flounder. After only managing to pick up three wins out of their six Champions League qualifying games, Conte’s side could only secure second spot in Group C. After failing to overcome Roma for pole position, Chelsea have been drawn against Barcelona in the round of 16.
For the Blues, their attention will now undoubtedly be with securing a top-four finish come May. For Chelsea, their two major problems this year have been their defensive issues and dropping silly point. Conceding in four of their last five appearances, the Blues have only kept three clean sheets away from Stamford Bridge this year. Already dropping 16 points this year, only five less than their whole tally for last season. This season Conte’s side have already dropped points to Burnley, West Ham, and Crystal Palace.
After missing Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at the Olympic Stadium last weekend due to an illness, former Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater could be set to return. The 27-year-old may replace Tiemoue Bakayoko who was substituted at half-time against West Ham.
Brazilian defender David Luiz will still remain sidelined with a knee injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- This will be the first top-flight meeting between these sides since January 1972, which finished in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
- Huddersfield have won three of their last four home games in the Premier League, with the only defeat in this run coming against first-place Manchester City.
- Chelsea have already dropped 16 points in their 16 Premier League games this season – they only dropped 21 in the whole of 2016-17 in the competition
- Last weekend’s 1-0 loss to West Ham was the first time Chelsea have failed to register a single goal away from home.
- Eight of Steve Mounie’s 18 league goals since the start of last season have been from headers (44%) – including two of his four for Huddersfield this season.
For Antonio Conte, a trip to Huddersfield could be seen as a nightmare fixture. The defending champions will travel to West Yorkshire as the heavy favorites and expected to pick up three points. However, as Huddersfield have shown against Manchester City and Manchester United, they are not to be underestimated. With Chelsea conceding in four out of their last five appearances, Huddersfield will be confident of piling on the pressure.
Although the Blues may have failed to find the net last weekend, Chelsea are a side who still posses a significant amount of firepower. Alvaro Morata is the third top Premier League goal scorer this year with nine goals and starman Eden Hazard has shown he is a player returning to form. Backing both sides to find teh net at 10/11 seems like a strong bet here.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 10/11
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