Trap game? A risk of relaxing after the epic effort against Liverpool? Huddersfield are hovering just above the relegation zone and are in serious need of points if they are to survive. Could Chelsea revert to their casual ways and fritter away a result?
Surely not. The chances of catching either Liverpool or Tottenham are slim. But they vanish completely if Chelsea don’t grab all three points. Conte has already said he expects to rotate and the tea leaves hint that he’ll revert to the 3-4-3, possibly fielding an attack of Willian, Pedro and Álvaro Morata. After sitting for Chelsea’s last five matches, might defensive prodigy Andreas Christensen finally see some action again?
Huddersfield are just three points above Swansea and the dreaded third and final relegation spot — but the Swans play already relegated Stoke on the final weekend while the Terries face Chelsea and Arsenal. Huddersfield snagged an improbable point at the Etihad on Sunday, but a motivated Chelsea ought to handle them comfortably.
Time to do some damage, boys.
Date / Time: Wednesday, May 9th, 2018, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Referee: Lee Mason — this will be our fourth time under Mason’s whistle this season, with a League Cup and two Premier League wins so far. He’s not profligate with his yellow card. However... Mason was the fourth official who tired of Conte’s diatribes against Neil Swarbrick when we played Swansea on November 29th and sent him off.
Forecast: A lovely spring evening in West London. 18°C (64°F), winds 10 km/h (6 mph). The chance of rain is... zero. Yes, in England. Zero chance of rain. Rejoice!
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Huddersfield team news: Tom Ince is back in the squad after a hamstring. Chris Löwe and Terence Kongolo are probable. Elias Kachunga (ankle ligament), Danny Williams (fractured fibula), Michael Hefele (meniscus) are out.
Huddersfield have won just once in the last two months, but have drawn their last two away games (Brighton, Manchester City). They are currently favored to finish in the drop zone, probably level on points with Swansea and Southampton but worse off in goal differential, which is the second worst in the league (-29) after Stoke (-34). The Terriers are the division’s lowest scoring team with 27 goals in 36 games, same as Swans who have played one more.
Chelsea team news: Sunday’s unexpected scratch, Alvaro Morata, is back. David Luiz’s ankle/knee/whatever was not cured by Giroud’s hug and Ampade remains out as well. There are no other injuries of note at the moment.
Chelsea are on a season-best five-match winning streak in all competitions, although only one of those five wins was by more than the singular goal (the one game that wasn’t in the Premier League, our 2-0 win over Southampton in the FA Cup semifinal). The Blues should (“should”) be able to put a few past this lot however.
Last time: Tiemoué Bakayoko scored his second (of two, so far) Premier League goal as Chelsea took a 3-1 win over the Terriers at John Smith’s Stadium in December. Pedro scored his third (of four, so far) and Willian headed one in. This was one of the matches in which Hazard played as a striker, with Morata rested and Michy Batshuayi only getting 21 minutes as a sub.