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Premier League: Chelsea cruise at Huddersfield to get Maurizio Sarri era underway

The Blues didn’t exactly dominate, but were clinical enough in the final third to register an impressive away win.

SNS | New Delhi |

Chelsea got the Maurizio Sarri era off to the perfect start with a resounding 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium in their Premier League fixture on Saturday night.

N’Golo Kante, in London barely a week after his World Cup exertions, got the Blues off to a flyer with a scuffed first-time shot from inside the box after Wilian had found him with a smart cross in the 34th minute.

Summer signings Jorginho and Kepa Arrizabalaga made their league debuts and while the latter was assured in goal, the former was unflappable in the middle of the park.

Up front, Alvaro Morata continued to toil for the West Londoners but despite the Spaniard’s poor run of form continuing up top, Chelsea always looked like the side that would find another before the break.

And they did, in contentious circumstances, with fullback Marcos Alonso getting fouled in the box and while replays vindicated match referee Christopher Kavanagh’s decision, the home crowd weren’t having it.

Jorginho stepped up and his cool penalty went one way while Ben Hamer went the other and at half-time, Sarri’s men were sitting pretty.

David Wagner responded by sending on Laurent Depoitre at the restart and while the home side began the second-half strongly, lady luck wasn’t on their side and despite concerted pressure, were unable to find the back of the net.

David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, in particular, were two of the visitors’ backline that didn’t look comfortable in a four-man defence but they did just about enough to keep the hosts at bay.

In fact, Alonso was mightily unluckily not to get on the scoresheet himself when his acrobatic volley cannoned off the crossbar, but Chelsea weren’t to be denied a third goal.

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Pedro’s exquisite finish was the icing on the cake to put the game beyond doubt and Chelsea fans, after last week’s loss to Manchester City in the Community Shield, can now begin to hope again that the season may not be as difficult as many have predicted it to be.

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Next up are familiar foes Arsenal and undoubtedly the atmosphere in Stamford Bridge will be buoyant when the Gunners come visiting on August 18.

For the Terriers, the season-opener will be a sobering reminder of how tough it is to remain in the top-flight and they have a  daunting date with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium up next.