Chelsea responded to their worst league defeat in 22 years with their biggest win of the season as they beat Huddersfield 5-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard linked up brilliantly, helping themselves to a brace each while David Luiz finished the scoring with a deflected effort in a total demolition of the relegation-threatened side.
Following a quiet league debut against Bournemouth, the Blues’ January loan signing started once again as Ross Barkley returned to the midfield. It was actually the former Everton man that came close to opening the scoring inside three minutes but his first-time effort from outside the box flew just wide of the target.
The Terriers were keen to exploit the defensive frailties Chelsea had shown in midweek but Aaron Mooy failed to keep his header down and a certain prolific Argentinian hitman made him pay. N’Golo Kante played a fantastic disguised pass into the path of Higuain and the on-loan Juventus forward didn’t need a second invite, slamming a strike inside the near post and into the roof of the net to open up his account in England.
Huddersfield managed to gain a bit of a foothold in the match but as has been their problem all season, the creation of chances was at a premium and Luiz really should have punished them with a free header from 12 yards which somehow found its way the wrong side of the post.
Just as the visitors had begun to pin the home side inside their own half, they were hit with another sucker punch on the stroke of half-time. Cesar Azpilicueta was tripped on his way into the box by Elias Kachunga but as it looked as though the decision would be a free-kick, Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, leaving Hazard to step up and calmly fire his penalty into the back of the net.
The half-time whistle sounded with Chelsea firmly on top in terms of the scoreline but not necessarily in terms of performance. New Huddersfield boss, Jan Siewart will have been impressed during the interval but he was evidently disappointed just 10 minutes after the restart as he felt his side should have been awarded a spot-kick of their own when Kachunga was felled by Andreas Christensen in the corner of the area.
On the back of that decision, it wasn’t long before the game was put well and truly to bed as Hazard went ahead in the mini goals battle between himself and his new strike partner. It was trademark from the Belgian star with him rounding Jonas Lossl and finishing into the empty following Barkley’s direct pass into his feet.
However, Higuain was clearly desperate to level up the goal tally as he netted another brilliant strike which was once again assisted by Kante. Some neat play led to the French World Cup winner laying the ball back to the frontman who unleashed a terrific shot into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving the Terriers goalkeeper with absolutely no chance.
The hosts didn’t want to stop there and continued to stroke the ball around with real authority and there was time for one more goal with five minutes left on the clock. Kachunga gave the hosts a helping hand yet again as he deflected Luiz’ free header (which was already on target) past Lossl.
As the final whistle sounded, Chelsea’s perfect response to a humiliating defeat was complete and they maintained their place in fourth. They face the ultimate task in their next fixture as they travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City next Sunday.