Not a pointless game for Terriers: Chelsea v Huddersfield Premier League Preview
Chelsea host Huddersfield Town on Wednesday evening, with the home team chasing a top-four spot and the visitors needing a point to guarantee their place in the Premier League. Infogol’s Analyst uses expected goals (xG) to preview the game and produce the best bets.
Huddersfield Expected Goals (xG)
A point, a point, my kingdom for a point, cried David Wagner. Almost.
Huddersfield Town travel to Chelsea on Wednesday night knowing that a draw would ensure their Premier League status, a remarkable achievement considering the club’s status and budget.
They are 17th in the table with two games remaining, three points above Swansea but with an inferior goal difference to their now only relegation rivals following Southampton’s win on Tuesday, one which simultaneously relegated West Brom whilst guaranteeing their own safety.
Huddersfield host Arsenal on the final day, while Swansea play already-relegated Stoke, so there is a degree of pressure on the Terriers to get something out of tonight’s game against Chelsea.
However, a valiant backs-to-the-wall point at Manchester City at the weekend (xG: MAN 0.97 – 0.37 HUD), in which they stifled the champions in a goalless draw, shows that Wagner’s side can shut down games when needed.
Huddersfield have limited Watford, Everton and Man City to less than 1 xGF in each of their last three matches, and though they don’t create much going forward as a general rule, that isn’t really the name of the game here; the likes of Edin Hazard, Willian and Pedro find it much harder to break down teams that defend deep and don’t allow counterattacks.
Chelsea Expected Goals (xG)
Chelsea are expected by most to win tonight’s game; three points could see them leapfrog Spurs into fourth if their rivals lose against Newcastle at Wembley.
However, though recent results have been strong (won their last four), the Blues have not been in great form, especially at home, as the image below shows.
Chelsea were slightly flattered to beat Liverpool on Sunday (70% fairness, xG: CHE 0.70 – 0.66 LIV), and though that was against better opposition, it was another sign that Antonio Conte’s side are still struggling in-front of goal; they’ve been limited to less than 1 xGF in six matches in 2018 alone, including games against Leicester and Watford, two teams not normally associated with defensive solidity.
Conte has suggested that he will rotate his starting eleven this evening, which could be a dangerous move despite the undoubted quality and strength in depth that Chelsea possess.
Bookmakers and most fans will be expecting a Chelsea romp, but the Terriers lived up to their nickname on Sunday at the Etihad and they can do the same here. The value lies in the draw at 7/1, with under 0.5 goals available at 20/1 for those who can see lightning striking twice.
Chelsea and Huddersfield to draw @ 7/1