Maurizio Sarri made a winning start as a Premier League manager as his Chelsea side produced a dominant performance to win at Huddersfield Town.
Maurizio Sarri is only just starting to shape his new Chelsea team the way that he wants it but on days like this when they just have too much quality for their opposition the Italian manager might wonder whether it even matters.
They were not always dominant but Chelsea were decisive in the game’s critical moments, put two goals up before half-time when Jorginho stroked a penalty past Ben Hamer and from there it was hard to see a way back.
N’Golo Kante had scored only his third league goal of his Chelsea career earlier in the half and when later after the break Eden Hazard came on, it was just too much for Huddersfield Town.
Hamer and the substitute Adama Diakhaby were the only debutants in David Wagner’s new-look Huddersfield team. In goal for Chelsea, the £71 million man Kepa Arrizabalaga barely had a save to make and in front of him Jorginho was impressive. There was another start for Ross Barkley, although Hazard’s cameo at the end served notice as to who the main man is.
A surging run from inside his own half by the Belgian had Huddersfield back-pedalling and using Alvaro Morata as a decoy, Hazard slipped the ball right for Pedro to score the third.
Huddersfield had been frenetic in their attacking and tenacious in midfield, but with very little finesse. When Chelsea’s attacking stars got to run at them the home side found themselves opened up very quickly.
In the first half, Pedro was released in midfield by a deft flick from Jorginho with the inside of his foot that set the Spanish winger off towards the left side where he found Willian. The Brazilian looked like he had the upper hand down that wing and he skipped past Florent Hadergjonaj to pick out Kante. The little World Cup-winner does not score many and this was a strange one, struck into the ground and bouncing up past Hamer.
Steve Mounie did hit the bar with a header from a corner that was flicked on to him shortly afterwards but that was as close as Huddersfield came. David Luiz, something of a catastrophe in the Community Shield six days earlier, was authoritative in defence. When they got a chance just before half-time Chelsea took it again, another move that was too quick for the home side to stop.
This time it went from Pedro to Jorginho and Ross Barkley’s flick to Marcos Alonso took him into the area where Christophe Schindler’s challenge was late. Jorginho’s penalty was dispatched with Hamer on the floor, put there by a little skip in the Italian-Brazilian’s run-up that confounded the goalkeeper before the ball was rolled past him.
The home crowd had their frustrations with referee Chris Kavanagh but the difference in these two sides was too much for Huddersfield to bridge.