There's been little disruption at Huddersfield over the summer and plenty of it at Chelsea. That can only benefit the hosts, says Jamie Pacheco.
"All well and good but they’ll never have a better opportunity than this one to get something from the game. The likeable German has the same squad from last year, has had the whole summer to prepare for this game and had very few players involved at the World Cup."
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
Saturday August 11, 15:00
Terriers look stronger
Hands up if you thought Huddersfield were going to stay up last season. Yeah, didn't think so.
But they, and manager David Wagner in particular, deserve a lot of credit. At times their style of football was old-school and based on hard work, discipline and trying to score from set-pieces. At other times it was innovative and refreshing with Wagner using different systems both before and during matches in a versatile 'horses-for-courses' approach.
There is of course a little bit of a danger of second-season syndrome here with sides now more used to how they go about things but on the plus side their extra year's stay in the Premier League has allowed them to spend. Tom Ince aside (who wasn't even that great anyway last year), no-one of note left. And they managed to secure permanent deals for Jonas Lossl and Terence Kongolo, both of whom impressed on loan last term. Terriers fans will also be able to look forward to watching former Monaco man Adama Diakhaby and ex-Stoke winger Ramadan Sobhi in action, amongst others.
Chelsea fans understandably a little worried
Times are changing at Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri certainly isn't in the same category of fame as the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte and a load of other managers who have arrived at Stamford Bridge in recent years. And Brazilian midfielder Jorginho (ex-Napoli) is hardly a household name, either.
With that, they'll be putting their hopes on Mateo Kovacic to be their shining signing of the window, and that Kepa is an adequate replacement for Thibault Courtois. They can take solace in keeping Willian and Eden Hazard.
Chelsea are [1.63] on the Exchange for an away win. The historical stats are on their side. Chelsea have beaten them away on each of their last four attempts and it's eight matches in total where Saturday's hosts have failed to beat Chelsea (home and away), with five wins for the Londoners and three draws.
For good measure, no side has lost more games in the Premier League (10) or earned fewer points (13) in 2018 than Wagner's, Opta tell us.
All well and good but they'll never have a better opportunity than this one to get something from the game. The likeable German has the same squad from last year, has had the whole summer to prepare for this game and had very few players involved at the World Cup.
Contrast that with the managerial change in the enemy camp which means new methods, new systems, new footballing philosophies. They looked pretty disjointed in the Community Shield- albeit against an excellent Man City - and there could be more of the same here.
Many of Sarri's key players won't be fully fit, including the two most important ones- Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante - after Russia 2018. And that could make all the difference. Lay the favourite.
I'm not entirely sure Sarri knows who his best defence is and that could spell trouble. Not to mention that in goal he'll either have to play his incoming keeper for whom this is all new, a keeper on the way out or a reserve keeper.
They conceded three goals in a shock 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley in their opening game last season and despite Chelsea's strong record in this fixture, both teams have scored in six of the last seven games between these two. Whatever happens in terms of the end result, both teams to score is well-priced at evens.
It's anyone's guess who will play upfront for Chelsea so it could pay to look at slightly bigger priced players in deeper areas. Cesc Fabregas who of course didn't go to the World Cup should play and could be worth a look at 7/2. So could Ross Barkley, who had a whole summer to regain full fitness and could get a game here after playing in the Community Shield. He's 16/5 and might play in the 'Hazard role' so could have license to roam forward.
This one could be the so-called slow burner where both sides are happy to test the waters for the opening 45 minutes before giving it a go in he second half. The half-time draw (11/10) with both teams scoring at the end of the 90 minutes (evens) is certainly worth a look at odds of 4.86 and could be the way to go.