Chelsea kept their top four hopes alive on Sunday, after a 1-0 victory over Champions League finalists Liverpool. The Blues are now guaranteed to finish at least level on points with the Reds if they can win their two remaining games of the season. Meanwhile, they’ve closed the gap to fourth placed Tottenham to just two points, although Spurs also have two matches left to play, compared to Liverpool’s one. While Chelsea are back in the frame, the fact that the other two sides are at home in all of their remaining fixtures makes things quite difficult for them to turn it around.
The hosts will still want to finish on a high, even if they’re going to be kicking themselves for past slip ups as a result. Wednesday’s meeting with Huddersfield is a chance for Antonio Conte’s side to continue their fight into the final day, but there are still questions surrounding the Italians choices which put the team in this mess. Complicating matters further is Huddersfield’s push for survival, as a point would all but secure their top flight place for another year.
Team News: Conte Set for Final Bridge Selection
Antonio Conte isn’t one to switch from a winning formula, but the Blues boss might make a slight tweak as he looks for a more attacking display in what is potentially his final match in charge at Stamford Bridge. He won’t be able to make a change up top, with Alvaro Morata a doubt for the midweek encounter. Danny Drinkwater is thought to be back in contention, but he’s unlikely to feature with Conte likely to switch back to a 3-4-3 after using a 3-5-2 to frustrate the Reds at the weekend. That should see the inclusion of Willian, who has enjoyed an impressive season to date.
The Terriers also like to use a 3-5-2 set-up to frustrate their opponents, and we can see something similar coming from the visitors here. Fresh from a 0-0 draw with Man City, David Wagner’s men are going to push for a similar result. They’re unlikely to make big changes from the team which picked up a crucial point at City, although Terence Kolongo is a doubt ahead of this one. The visitors will have to ready themselves for a clash with a side who are looking to achieve something, rather than facing a team who appeared to be on autopilot.
The visitors really needed that point at City, as it moved them three clear of the drop with two matches to play. The two sides below them – Southampton and Swansea – meet in Wales on Tuesday, so there could be a lot of pressure on the Terriers following that one. The visitors have only themselves to blame should they come up short this season, following a run of one victory in eight matches. A point or two more across that run would have made all the difference, and the West Yorkshire outfit now have work still to do.
Huddersfield finish the season at Chelsea and then at home to Arsenal. Taking on the Gunners in Arsene Wenger’s final match in charge is a difficult one, and it’s going to leave the Terriers sweating on their place in the top flight. Having averaged just 0.72 points per game on the road this season, they’re not expected to turn things around on Wednesday night.
Chelsea v Huddersfield Head to Head
Chelsea won 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium in December last year, the first top flight meeting between the pair in over 40 years. They last met at the Bridge over 10 years ago, when the Blues won 3-1 against the Terriers in the FA Cup. However, with only three meetings this century, there’s not a huge lot to take from the head to head record between these two – other than the relatively easy Blues win earlier in the campaign.
- Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2017
- Chelsea 3-1 Huddersfield, Feb 2008
- Chelsea 2-1 Huddersfield, Jan 2006
- Chelsea 0-1 Huddersfield, Oct 1999
- Chelsea 3-1 Huddersfield, Feb 1984
- Chelsea to Win to Nil – 31/40 with BetVictor
- Olivier Giroud to score – 5/6 with Coral
The Blues’ push for a top four finish should get a boost this week, according to the bookies. They’ve been priced up at 2/11 with Betfred to win on Wednesday night, while Huddersfield are 18/1 outsiders with Bet365. The draw can be backed at 13/2 with Coral, with the Blues clearly expected to take the points. That would be a big blow for the Terriers’ hopes of staying in the division, and their away form certainly backs up those prices. Obviously the hosts aren’t great value to back outright for the victory, but there are other bets worth taking a look at ahead of this clash.
The home side have won five straight matches, following back to back 1-0 wins in the league. They are grinding out results in impressive fashion, which has kept them in the race for fourth. Meanwhile, Huddersfield come here having failed to score away to any top half side in the Premier League, which shows their issues up front. We expect Chelsea’s improved defence to continue that awful Huddersfield run, and we’re backing a home win to nil on Wednesday night, at 31/40 with BetVictor. In addition, another 1-0 wouldn’t be all that shocking, and that can be backed at 13/2 with Ladbrokes.
Olivier Giroud has been praised by Conte this week, and the French forward has really made an impact since arriving at the Bridge mid-season. He’s already faced the visit of Huddersfield once this season, scoring twice for Arsenal against them at the Emirates. With his recent form and a solid record against them so far, we think the Frenchman will once again make the difference for the Blues. We’re backing Giroud to score any time, which seems like good value at 5/6 with Coral.