Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain took centre stage as Chelsea thrashed relegation battlers Huddersfield Town 5-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea were coming into the game on the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of AFC Bournemouth and were in need of a strong reaction, with pressure mounting. And things began in the best possible manner for them against the Terriers as Gonzalo Higuain broke the deadlock just 15 minutes in, striking home after being played in by N’Golo Kante.
Huddersfield offered very little threat in the final third, apart from a couple of darting runs forward from Adama Diakhaby and by the time half-time arrived Chelsea were two goals up, with Eden Hazard burying home a penalty that captain Cesar Azpilicueta had won on.
Twenty minutes after the restart, Hazard got his second of the day as he slotted the ball into an empty net after rounding the Terriers’ goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. Three minutes later, Higuain completed his double with a spectacular strike from outside the box, before David Luiz added the fifth in the 86th minute to add more sheen to the scoreline.
Full-time: Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 2, 2019
The result meant Maurizio Sarri’s men moved back into the fourth position in the Premier League standings, having lost the spot to Arsenal following their defeat to Bournemouth. And here’s how the Chelsea superstars fared against Jan Siewert’s side at home on Saturday;
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper had one nervy moment in the first period, where a Huddersfield attacker looked to take the ball off his feet on the edge of the box. But apart from that, Kepa had a comfortable outing, hardly called into making any saves. Efficient with his distribution from the back.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Afforded the space and time to get forward down the right-hand side, the Chelsea captain made the most of it, constantly offering an avenue on the right and hitting in crosses for Higuain. Won the penalty on the stroke of half-time that allowed the Blues to double their lead. Showed so much more attacking intent than he has done this season and was solid at the back as well.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Handed a start in place of Antonio Rudiger after the Bournemouth disaster, the Chelsea academy product justified his selection with a dependable display at the back. Excellent positioning to cut any threats that Huddersfield posed on the counters, made a couple of key interventions and used the ball very well when in possession. Encouraging signs.
David Luiz: 7/10
A rather straightforward outing for the Brazilian centre-back, who dealt pretty comfortably with whatever little threat that Huddersfield posed. Distributed the ball well from the back, hardly misplacing a pass and having come close to scoring from a couple of set-piece situations, he got his goal late in the game via a deflection.
Marcos Alonso: 5.5/10
Back into the starting lineup replacing Emerson Palmieri, Alonso offered a constant outlet down the left flank for Chelsea, but seemed to lack the quality end product to make a difference. The Spaniard’s forward forays left his team exposed against the speedy Diakhaby, who did cause quite a few problems especially in the first half. Not quite convincing on his return.
N’Golo Kante: 8/10
Sensational through ball to set Higuain up for the opening goal and just continued to build on that as he constantly drove forward from the middle of the park, while putting the hard yards in when not in possession as well. Got the assist for Higuain’s second goal as well with a neat lay-off. Influential presence on the field for Chelsea.
Chelsea’s midfield linchpin enjoyed a good game at the base of the midfield. Not stretched defensively, with the Terriers not creating many opportunities, while he was allowed the time on the ball to pick passes and create chances. Showed good understanding with Higuain, playing a couple of nice passes for the Argentine to chase.
Ross Barkley: 7.5/10
Handed a starting berth in the midfield ahead of Mateo Kovacic, Barkley made the most of his opportunity, putting on an effective display. Linked up very well with his teammates in the attacking third and got the assist for Chelsea’s third with a neat through pass, while he did not shy away from his defensive responsibilities either. Efficient.
Preferred over Pedro on the right flank, the Brazilian might not have scored or assisted a goal but was a key presence on the field for Chelsea. Willian’s work-rate off the ball was very impressive on the day, while he created a number of chances in the final third as well and came close to scoring with a curling effort.
Gonzalo Higuain: 8.5/10
Looked sharp from the outset and opened the scoring with a powerful strike from a tight angle after some sharp movement, while his second goal was a thing of beauty. Could have had a hat-trick, but saw his shot blocked by Chris Lowe. Linked up very well with his attacking partners and his movement was much more purposeful.
After a rather listless display on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth, Higuain announced himself to the Premier League with an exceptional performance against the Terriers on Saturday.
Eden Hazard: 9/10
Showed why he is regarded as the best player in the Premier League with a sensational display. Was too hot to handle for Huddersfield, as he ran through the opposition time and again, constantly getting into dangerous positions and creating a number of chances.
Dispatched the penalty with his usual calmness and then showed great control and composure to round the keeper and score his second. Successfully completed all off his 12 attempted dribbles on the day. Absolutely brilliant.
Mateo Kovacic: 6/10
Came on to replace Jorginho in the 70th minute. Added fresh legs in the middle of the park and exuded calm and composure.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: N/A
Replaced Hazard with under 15 minutes left to be played.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: N/A
Came on to replace Kante with less than ten minutes left on the clock.