Sports Football 13 Dec 2017 Premier League: Will ...

Premier League: Willian stars in Chelsea’s win vs Huddersfield, Burnley in top 4

AP | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Dec 13, 2017, 8:18 am IST
Updated Dec 13, 2017, 8:18 am IST
The Brazilian scored one and provided two assist to help defending champions overwhelmed Huddersfield 3-1.
Willian (centre) recalled to the team with striker Alvaro Morata out injured, set up the opening goal by Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 23rd minute and headed in the second in the 43rd. The Brazilian winger laid the ball off for Pedro Rodriguez to score the third in the 50th minute as Chelsea cut through Huddersfield at will. (Photo:AP)
 Willian (centre) recalled to the team with striker Alvaro Morata out injured, set up the opening goal by Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 23rd minute and headed in the second in the 43rd. The Brazilian winger laid the ball off for Pedro Rodriguez to score the third in the 50th minute as Chelsea cut through Huddersfield at will. (Photo:AP)

Huddersfield: Willian scored one goal and set up two others as Chelsea overwhelmed Huddersfield 3-1 in the English Premier League on Tuesday, moving the defending champion level on points with second-place Manchester United.

Huddersfield has beaten Manchester United and run Manchester City close at home this season, but was easily dispatched by the other member of the league's top three as Chelsea rebounded from a loss at West Ham at the weekend.

Willian, recalled to the team with striker Alvaro Morata out injured, set up the opening goal by Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 23rd minute and headed in the second in the 43rd.

The Brazilian winger laid the ball off for Pedro Rodriguez to score the third in the 50th minute as Chelsea cut through Huddersfield at will.

Substitute Laurent Depoitre grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for Huddersfield, which is playing in its first season in the top division in 45 years.

Huddersfield adopted the same tactics as it had in home games against the two Manchester clubs, getting almost every player behind the ball in a bid to stifle a more illustrious rival.

But their pressing wasn't intense enough and Chelsea's players were given time and space to create chances.

The first goal came from a weak clearance by goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. The ball was returned to Eden Hazard, who flicked it to Willian, who in turn laid in Bakayoko to surge into the area and chip a finish past Lossl.

Chris Lowe tried to keep the ball out with a despairing lunge on the goal-line, but succeeded only in bundling it into his own net.

Willian scored himself before halftime, heading in at the far post after Marcos Alonso was afforded lots of time to send over a cross from the left wing.

Playing as the lone striker, Hazard was dropping off and causing Huddersfield's defense problems with his movement. It was allowing Pedro and Willian to get beyond him for chances on goal and they combined for the third.

Off another cross from Alonso, Willian bundled the ball back for Pedro to curl a rising shot into the top corner from 15 meters.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had the luxury of being able to bring off Hazard and N'Golo Kante midway through the second half, amid a grueling run of games for the team.

Chelsea is 11 points behind leader Manchester City, whose game in hand is against Swansea on Wednesday.

Barnes sends Burnley in top 4

Ashley Barnes scored in the 89th minute to earn Burnley a 1-0 win over Stoke that lifted the unfashionable team into the top four of the English Premier League on Tuesday.

Already sitting above Tottenham, Burnley leapfrogged Arsenal and Liverpool with its ninth victory of what is shaping up to be its most impressive league campaign in a generation.

Barnes, a substitute striker, smashed a finish into the corner from Scott Arfield's lay-off from only Burnley's second shot on target on a bitterly cold night at Turf Moor.

In its second season back in the top flight, Burnley was tipped by some pundits to struggle after selling two of its best players over the summer, during which the club made a profit in the transfer market.

The northern club has been English champion twice, in 1921 and 1960, but hasn't had it this good since finishing sixth in 1974.

"I keep reality because this division will eat you alive," Burnley manager Sean Dyche said. "We're having a real go at what we can achieve this season. I'm not being negative. I'm a realist, there's a lot of challenges coming our way."

The loss for 15th-place Stoke will add to the pressure on its coach Mark Hughes, whose team has lost nine of its 17 games and has the leakiest defense in the league with 36 goals conceded.

"Burnley play on percentages, they hope something will drop for them and they are making a habit of it," Hughes said.

"We'll be OK, we're fine," Hughes added. "We are working hard to try and turn this around but I am encouraged by what I've seen tonight."

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