MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 06:39:33

Result: Maurizio Sarri off to winning start as Chelsea manager

Chelsea get their Premier League campaign off to a winning start under new manager Maurizio Sarri courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

Maurizio Sarri has got his Chelsea reign off to a winning start courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in their Premier League opener at the John Smith's Stadium this afternoon.

The hosts were unfortunate to find themselves two goals down at half time following goals from N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, the latter of whom marked his debut in English football with a cheeky penalty on the stroke of half time.

However, last season's lowest scorers once again struggled to pose enough problems in the final third, and by full time Chelsea were worthy of their three-goal triumph after Pedro had capped off the scoring 10 minutes from time.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho celebrates scoring during his side's Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town on August 11, 2018© Reuters

Jorginho was not the only debutant on show for Chelsea, but world-record goalkeeper signing Kepa Arrizabalaga had little to do throughout the match as he kept a clean sheet on his first appearance for the club.

The Spanish shot-stopper was the first keeper called into action after a quiet start to the match, although Alex Pritchard's strike from just outside the area never really threatened to beat him.

Steve Mounie also tried his luck from range as Huddersfield held their own against their more illustrious opponents, and the hosts could justifiably feel hard done by when Chelsea opened the scoring with their first shot on target.

The goal came from an unlikely source too, with World Cup winner Kante - deployed in a more advanced role under Sarri - matching his tally from the whole of last season by scuffing a volley into the far corner after being picked out by Willian.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante celebrates scoring the opening goal of his side's Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town on August 11, 2018© Reuters

Huddersfield almost produced an immediate response to going behind when a flicked-on corner was nodded goalwards by Mounie at the back post, but with Kepa beaten the ball struck the inside of the upright before being hacked away by the defence.

It would prove to be a pivotal moment in the match as Chelsea doubled their advantage right on the stroke of half time after Marcos Alonso had been brought down inside the penalty area by a rash Christopher Schindler challenge.

Summer signing Jorginho stepped up to take the spot kick, calmly stroking the ball past Ben Hamer after sending the Huddersfield debutant the wrong way with an audacious run-up.

The half-time scoreline was harsh on the Terriers, but they offered few signs of getting back into the match after the interval and were fortunate not to fall further behind from two corners in quick succession shortly before the hour mark.

The first saw Antonio Rudiger step away from some statuesque defending before drawing a low save from Hamer, while the German defender once again got his head to the second delivery, nodding the ball into a dangerous area before Alonso produced an acrobatic scissor kick on the turn which crashed against the crossbar.

Alonso sent another effort just over the bar from a free kick before Huddersfield did finally offer some signs of life in the second half following the introduction of Adama Diakhaby, with Philip Billing sending a looping header against the angle of the woodwork, although Kepa had it covered all the way.

Perhaps the home side's best and final chance of clawing their way back into the match fell to Laurent Depoitre, who scored home and away against Chelsea last season but rushed his effort when he had space inside the area and blasted the ball over the top.

Any hopes of a late comeback from David Wagner's side were ended once and for all 10 minutes before full time, though, when Eden Hazard wielded an immediate influence after being introduced off the bench.

Chelsea attacker Pedro celebrates with Eden Hazard after scoring during his side's Premier League clash with Huddersfield on August 11, 2018© Reuters

The Belgian burst forward through the middle before finding Pedro in space, and the Spaniard's delicate dink over Hamer sealed all three points for Chelsea.

The result leaves Chelsea - whose next match comes against London rivals Arsenal - as the early table-toppers by virtue of goal difference, whereas Huddersfield sink straight to the bottom of the pile ahead of next weekend's daunting trip to champions Manchester City.

HUDDERSFIELD (3-5-1-1): Hamer; Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo; Hadergjonaj, Mooy, Hogg, Billing, Lowe (Diakhaby 71'); Pritchard (Depoitre 46'); Mounie

CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 68'); Pedro (Moses 81'), Morata, Willian (Hazard 76')

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Maurizio Sarri watches on during the pre-season friendly between Chelsea and Arsenal on August 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
2Liverpool1613303462842
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Burnley1733111533-1812
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1723121642-269

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