Hope for Chelsea as Hazard and Higuain hit it off instantly

Instant hit: Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring for Chelsea. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

 It has become hard to judge each Chelsea result in the context of the season, given the two faces the team can switch between in just a few days.

If the very worst had been on display at Bournemouth in the 4-0 defeat last Wednesday night, then Saturday's 5-0 demolition of Huddersfield Town was certainly a much more acceptable face, albeit against a club doomed to relegation.

Maurizio Sarri's management and Chelsea's problems have been scrutinised since the Bournemouth defeat, but there were signs of encouragement in this victory at the start of a February fixture list that will define the club's season.

Two games against Manchester City, one in the league and one in the League Cup final, an FA Cup tie against Manchester United, a Europa League clash with Malmo and the visit of Tottenham Hotspur will test Sarri's side to the limit.

Here, we look at the three things Sarri got right against Huddersfield that could help put the Blues back on track.

Higuain and Hazard

Gonzalo Higuain enjoyed a memorable home debut after arriving on loan from Juventus by scoring two goals, the second of which he curled past Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl from 20 yards.

Hazard also netted twice, once from the penalty spot, but even more pleasing for Sarri was the early chemistry between the pair.

Hazard has moved back to his favoured position on the left, but cut in at every opportunity to get close to and link up with Higuain, and help get the ball to the striker.

The Belgian was involved in the move that led to Higuain's second goal, having shot wide in the first-half after collecting the Argentine's lay-off.

Chelsea played the first half of the season without an in-form striker and Higuain's arrival could be just what Sarri's team, and Hazard, need.

Higuain's partnership with Hazard has already caught the eye of midfielder N'Golo Kante, who said: "Both of them are good players. Eden we all know. Gonzalo adapts very well with the rest of the team and he is doing well. He knew some players here before, some players speak Italian and Spanish.

"He is another in the team who is really good and he knows how the manager wants to play, so he understands what the team need from him on the pitch. He is a worker and a scorer as well."

Midfield conundrum

Sarri's faith in Jorginho has been questioned, but the Italy international was not the only issue in Chelsea's midfield that needed looking at.

Mateo Kovacic had started with Jorginho and Kante against Bournemouth, but Ross Barkley replaced the Croatian on Saturday and gave greater attacking impetus and balance to Sarri's midfield.

Barkley set up Hazard's second goal with a wonderful through ball and could have got on the scoresheet himself, but was off target on three occasions.

Sarri must now give Barkley a run in the team and trust the England international against tougher opposition.

Kante gave further notice that he is beginning to settle into his new position under Sarri by assisting Higuain's opener with a wonderful pass round the back of the Huddersfield defence with the outside of his foot. He also made the final pass for Higuain's spectacular second and is enjoying his role in the team.

"It is part of my position to try to play the striker into the best position," said Kante. "And I am happy to have two assists. Gonzalo scored two beautiful goals and I hope I can keep going in the future.

"It has been now six or seven months I play in this position. I understand very well what the manager wants from me. The way we play with my team-mates is getting better and better."


When Kovacic got ready to come on in the 70th minute, most of those inside Stamford Bridge thought the same thing: "Barkley will be off."

Sarri's changes had become extremely predictable and his favourite was to replace Kovacic with Barkley or vice-versa.

But, to the relief of everyone, Kovacic replaced Jorginho for the final 20 minutes although Sarri afterwards revealed his decision had been influenced by the former Napoli midfielder feeling pain in his groin.

But Sarri is also looking at using Kovacic in Jorginho's position after Chelsea decided against signing a like-for-like replacement for Cesc Fabregas, who joined Monaco.

And that could force Sarri to be more creative with his substitutions as he juggles players between different positions and looks to use his squad more effectively. (Daily Telegraph)