- Sarri defeated Huddersfield in his Chelsea debut this season
- Chelsea have not lost 3 straight PL matches since Nov 2015
- Huddersfield have lost all 7 vs current top six this season by 19-2 score
A pair of squads in dire situations at opposite ends of the table meet as Chelsea hosts Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.
Chelsea is in danger of falling out of the top four, caught by Arsenal in the league table on points and goal differential. The Blues were obliterated by Bournemouth last time out and have won just one of their past four Premier League matches. In addition to the poor league form, new striker Gonzalo Higuain is already struggling for fitness and could miss out with a back problem, leaving manager Maurizio Sarri with yet another dilemma up front.
That’s the only injury concern for Chelsea, however, and Sarri is tasked with turning around a group that had instant success under the new Blues boss, only losing for the first time this season in late November. The recent turn of fortunes, however, has fans worried they could miss out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive year, with Arsenal level and Manchester United just two points back.
Huddersfield is struggling on a different level, bottom of the league with a whopping six-point gap between the Terriers and any other club. Philip Billing is reportedly healthy after missing two matches with a knee problem, while 21-year-old Karlan Grant is in contention for his debut after signing from Charlton Athletic.
This place is a familiar location for the Terriers, having earned a valuable draw last season that ensured Premier League survival. Now, having lost 10 of their last 11 Premier League matches and without a win since November, the situation is far more concerning this time around.
With Manchester City coming up next weekend, this game could represent a classic trap game for Chelsea, looking ahead to the vulnerable defending champions with a chance to turn the season around and secure Sarri’s managerial status.
What they’re saying
Sarri on coaching turnover in the PL: “There are three teams above the others. In one, the coach arrived five years ago [Pochettino], in one four years ago [Klopp] and in the other three years ago [Guardiola]. The situation is clear – English football is in the hands of these teams because they had a plan and they were really passionate. We need to work to change the mentality and to go on. The situation for me is very, very clear.”
Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert on playing Chelsea in bad form: “There is never a good time [to play Chelsea] – this is just the task we are given. For me it was the possibility to observe Chelsea [in midweek], so I know the situation and I know they have difficulties.”
Chelsea is in a bad way, but Huddersfield is far worse. They seem to be the odds-on favorite to go down, and Chelsea does not seem like the team that will bow to the woeful Terriers. The Blues win 2-0 and move on comfortably to face Manchester City.