Chelsea give manager cheer

Source:AFP Published: 2017/12/13 22:33:39

Burnley go fourth after 1-0 win over Stoke

(From left) Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Willian, and Pedro of Chelsea celebrate Pedro's goal during their Premier League match against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday in Huddersfield, England. Photo: VCG

Chelsea responded perfectly to head coach Antonio Conte's claim that their Premier League title hopes are over with a convincing 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

Tiemoue Bakayoko opened the scoring midway through the first half with a deft clipped finish, offering an answer to supporters who have criticized him for a series of poor performances following his July move from Monaco.

Willian headed in a second goal shortly before halftime and Pedro made it three.

Upwardly mobile Burnley are one place below Chelsea in fourth after edging Stoke City 1-0, while Crystal Palace hauled themselves off the foot of the table with two late goals in a dramatic 2-1 defeat of Watford.

Conte, who has cut an increasingly grumpy figure this season, said after Chelsea's surprise 1-0 defeat at West Ham United that his side had no chance of catching leaders Manchester City in the title race.

For Chelsea's fourth game of nine in a packed December, Conte was without his 10-goal top scorer Alvaro Morata because of a bad back, but Eden Hazard shone as a false nine and was ably supported by Willian and Pedro.

"I have decided for this solution," said the Chelsea manager. "It's not the first time to play with these type of players - Hazard, Willian, Pedro. I think they are very good technically. They are very fast. They played very well."

The visitors thought they had made the breakthrough in the sixth minute, but Pedro was just offside as he ran clear to slot in Willian's pass.

But Chelsea made their superiority count as they took the lead midway through the first half. Goalkeeper Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and Victor Moses' header was touched on stylishly by Hazard to Willian.

The Brazilian fed a pass left for Bakayoko to chip over the advancing goalkeeper and into the net despite Chris Lowe's attempt to clear off the line.

The defending champions got their second goal two minutes before halftime.

Stand-in captain Cesar Azpilicueta's long-diagonal pass from inside his own half found Marcos Alonso in space on the left, and he had time to cross for Willian to bounce in a ­header at the far post.

A third Chelsea goal took less than five minutes of the second half to arrive and again it came from an Alonso cross.

Willian held off Mathias Jorgensen and teed up Pedro to hammer into the top-right corner from 18 yards (16.5 meters).

Huddersfield, who stay 12th, claimed a stoppage-time consolation when Laurent Depoitre glanced a header into the net from fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj's left-wing cross.

Posted in: SOCCER

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