Huddersfield capable of freezing out Chelsea
Premier League champions set for frosty reception
BT Sport 1, 8pm Tuesday
Gloves, tights and snoods have long been de rigueur winter accessories for any self-respecting Premier League star, but the sight of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi snuggling up with a hot-water bottle at West Ham should warm the cockles of any Huddersfield fan.
Sure, it was a tad nippy at the London Stadium on Saturday but it won’t be any warmer in chilly West Yorkshire where David Wagner’s bravehearts are more than capable of freezing out the reigning champions.
Chelsea were rightly snowed under with flak for their effort at West Ham on Saturday which was plain average and a squad who are high on quality but short of numbers look to be suffering.
Antonio Conte is naturally enough moaning about tiredness and that, plus the sight of Batshuayi and his hot-water bottle, ought to have Huddersfield believing they can chalk up a second successive home win.
One-match form is a risky yardstick and the Terriers had lost four in a row prior to beating Brighton. Chelsea had taken 19 points out of a possible 21 before succumbing at West Ham.
But a Hammers side with the worst defence in the division going into last weekend had to do little more than stay organised for 90 minutes and gang up on Eden Hazard when required and they did both elements really well.
Sweat and graft will get rewards against Chelsea – Burnley and Crystal Palace have also beaten the Blues this term – and no side in the top flight beaver away quite as hard as Huddersfield, who could quite possibly be out on their feet by mid-March such has been the effort expended.
But Huddersfield are a mid-division outfit and full of confidence given the manner of the way in which they utterly outplayed Brighton on Saturday, so backing Chelsea at 2-5 doesn’t appeal.
Their disciples might prefer the 7-10 that they win the second half as the stats are on their side. Chelsea have scored 13 second-half goals compared to Huddersfield’s five, and Town have conceded 19 in the second period.
But if tiredness is going to be a factor Chelsea might not be stronger after the interval.
The alternative is the Huddersfield or draw double chance at 21-10.
Yes, Town have scored only 11 goals and have failed to find the net in nine of their 16 league matches.
But Wagner looks to know his side now and they are much better for the inclusion of Jonathan Hogg. Their worst defeats have been when Hogg was absent and the work he and Aaron Mooy get through in midfield is exemplary.
Huddersfield or draw double chance
1pt 21-10 Betfair
Rajiv van La Parra returns after a three-match ban. Philip Billing is still out.
David Luiz is out with a knee problem.
Huddersfield have failed to score in nine of their 16 league matches.
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