Date: 11th August 2018
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Another season, another manager as our first game of the season marks the Premier League debut of Maurizio Sarri. Today’s opponents Huddersfield have done a bit of business over the summer in an attempt to improve their chances of staying up again this season, and lets not forget the spirited Terriers managed a draw against us last season anyway.
We’ve had key players returning late after the summer’s World Cup and Sarri has had little time to make his mark at this stage. At the risk of starting the new season in pessimistic spirits, I think we’d be mad to expect today to be a straight forward start to the new season.
Going into today’s game, Huddersfield manager David Wagner says “I’m not focused on what Chelsea have done, what signings they’ve done or their change of manager, I think we know everything what we have to know in terms of who will be available and what formation they will choose, and then it’s all about us. I don’t think we have to discuss the quality about the opponent we face – it’s all about us to show the passion, the desire and the spirit to be brave and this is what we will do. The road is clear as to who the favourite is and who the underdog is. This isn’t something new for us, we are used to this role and we take it. We’ll try our best and see what we can get out of this game.”
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri meanwhile, says “We are looking forward to the season starting now, with a difficult game against Huddersfield. For sure, in this moment, we are not at the top of our potential. We had an unusual pre-season, because I came in a little later in the pre-season. So we are not there yet but I hope we will be at the top of our potential in one month or so, but I don’t know. I hope the second part of the season for us will be very good with a lot of points. I expect in the first part of the season, we may have to take a bit of time getting up to our full potential.”
For Huddersfield, newcomers Ramadan Sobhi and Adama Diakhaby could start and there’ll be a late decision on loanee Isaac Mbenza. Erik Durm won’t feature.
For Chelsea, Jorginho could make his first Premier League appearance, whilst Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic are both also eligible. N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill have all taken part in training this week, so Sarri will have some decisions to make.
HUDDERSFIELD (Possible line-up): Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Schindler, Zanka, Kongolo; Mooy, Hogg; Sobhi, Pritchard, Van La Parra; Mounie
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Barkley, Fabregas; Willian, Pedro, Morata
Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea (12 December 2017)
- Huddersfield’s last beat Chelsea in a league game in a Division Two game in March 1963.
- Huddersfield’s only win in the final 10 league games last season came against Watford in April
- Huddersfield have lost 10 Premier League games in 2018, more than any other side.
- In total, Huddersfield scored 28 goals last season,
- Huddersfield failed to score in 21 of their 38 top-flight matches.
- Chelsea lost to Burnley in their first fixture last year
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League visits to Yorkshire
- Maurizio Sarri lost his opening league fixture in his two previous top-flight jobs, with Empoli in 2014 and Napoli in 2015.
BBC Sport: Huddersfield 0-2 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Huddersfield 0-2 Chelsea
SportsMole: Huddersfield 0-1 Chelsea