The Premier League Champions have little time to reflect on an exciting draw against the La Liga leaders, with a tough game away at Huddersfield coming tomorrow night.

The Champions league Last 16 draw took place this morning as it was revealed that Chelsea, who narrowly missed out on topping group C, will consequentially be at home in the first leg of a heavyweight tie against Barcelona. The Spanish giants sit comfortably at the top of the La Liga table and will ensue further pressure and strain on this depleted Chelsea squad when the two face off next February.

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But as a result of both the long gap before that tie will take place, and the fact that Chelsea and manager Antonio Conte have been on the receiving end of continuous criticism from pundits and supporters alike after Saturday’s defeat at West Ham, the Italian boss is focused only on the Premier League for the time being. Conte has had his team selection closely analysed after making the controversial decision to select out-of-form Tiemoue Bakayoko as well as Davide Zappacosta over the likes of Victor Moses, Pedro and Willian. Ahead of tomorrow’s night’s trip to Huddersfield, Conte has hinted that there may well be more changes to the team.

The media and fans aren’t the only ones who have been negative about Chelsea’s current situation, as Conte himself was surprisingly damning after the game at the London stadium, insisting his team are not only out of the title race but never in it to begin with. In today’s press conference the Italian reiterated his stance.

“To talk about the title race after a defeat I think is a bit strange, My experience is this, if you want to stay in the race for the title, in the first part of the season you can lose once, twice.”

 

Chelsea make the Journey up to Yorkshire to face 12th placed Huddersfield at the John Smith stadium. David Wagner has been instrumental to the development of the newly promoted side who have been built from a strong foundation of key midfield and defensive players.

One specific player Chelsea will have to keep tabs on in tomorrow’s match is Australian and Huddersfield skipper Aaron Mooy. The ex-Manchester city man was involved in 11 goals during Huddersfield’s Championship campaign last year and has since been on the score-sheet twice already this season. Classed as the ‘underdogs’ of this season, Wagner’s side will take great confidence from Chelsea’s lacklustre performances against teams in the bottom half of the table as well as their own impressive form against the top 6 after overcoming Manchester United 2-1 and narrowly missing out on a point against Manchester City recently at home.

The Blues on the other hand will be treating the match as a must win game and will be doing all they can behind the scenes to give the players the best chance to take 3 points back to London on Tuesday evening. Victor Moses was briefly introduced to Saturday’s defeat at the London stadium after replacing a jaded Davide Zappacosta who has been playing frequent football on both flanks to supplement the lack of depth in the wing back positions, and the Nigerian’s injection of pace could well prove troublesome for the Huddersfield defence if he starts as expected. Conte may also opt to revert back to the familiar 3-4-3 which allows the Blues to play with more flair and directness down the wings as well as opening space for Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta to push forward and create chances.

All these factors will be heavily considered and are mandatory if the Blues want to get their league campaign back on track. The congestion in fixtures has taken it’s toll on the players and external pressure is starting to mount on a team who have failed to win in each of their last 2 games in all competitions. With further concern regarding the recent draw in Europe, it is crucial the Blues can pull together and prevail from this tricky spell by get back to winning ways with 3 points tomorrow.