Chelsea outclass Huddersfield
HUDDERSFIELD, England (AP) :
Willian scored one goal and set up two others as Chelsea overwhelmed Huddersfield 3-1 in the English Premier League yesterday, moving the defending champions level on points with second-place Manchester United.
Huddersfield have beaten Manchester United and run Manchester City close at home this season, but were easily dispatched by the other member of the league's top three as Chelsea rebounded from a loss at West Ham at the weekend.
Willian, recalled to the team with striker Alvaro Morata out injured, set up the opening goal by Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 23rd minute and headed in the second in the 43rd.
The Brazilian winger laid the ball off for Pedro Rodriguez to score the third in the 50th minute as Chelsea cut through Huddersfield at will.
Substitute Laurent Depoitre grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for Huddersfield, who are playing in their first season in the top division in 45 years.
Huddersfield adopted the same tactics as it had in home games against the two Manchester clubs, getting almost every player behind the ball in a bid to stifle a more illustrious rival.
But their pressing wasn't intense enough and Chelsea's players were given time and space to create chances.
The first goal came from a weak clearance by goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. The ball was returned to Eden Hazard, who flicked it to Willian, who in turn laid in Bakayoko to surge into the area and chip a finish past Lossl.
Chris Lowe tried to keep the ball out with a despairing lunge on the goal line, but succeeded only in bundling it into his own net.
Willian scored himself before half-time, heading in at the far post after Marcos Alonso was afforded lots of time to send over a cross from the left wing.
Playing as the lone striker, Hazard was dropping off and causing Huddersfield's defence problems with his movement. It was allowing Pedro and Willian to get beyond him for chances on goal and they combined for the third.
Off another cross from Alonso, Willian bundled the ball back for Pedro to curl a rising shot into the top corner from 15 meters.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had the luxury of being able to bring off Hazard and N'Golo Kante midway through the second half, amid a grueling run of games for the team.
Chelsea are 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, whose game in hand is against Swansea today.