Chelsea new striker Gonzalo Higuain show the class he is made of by scoring his first two Premier League goals on Saturday, sharing the spoils with Eden Hazard in a 5-0 victory over bottom side Huddersfield Town to ease the pressure on coach Maurizio Sarri.
The new sign-on, Argentine Higuain, who arrived in London last month, received a neat side-footed pass from N’Golo Kante in the 16th minute and squeezed a shot between goalkeeper Jonas Loessl and the near post.
Just before halftime Hazard converted a penalty for his 11th league goal of the season after Elias Kachunga brought down Chelsea fullback Cesar Azpilicueta on the edge of the area and referee Paul Tierney pointed at the spot.
The Hazard then got his 12 in the 67th minute by rounding Loessl and coolly slotting home from a Ross Barkley pass.
Two minutes later on in the game, Higuain showed class again as he added his second, a looping shot taking a deflection before hitting the back of the net. David Luiz made it five in the 86th minute, his header helped into the goal by the hapless Kachunga’s outstretched foot.
The match reduces pressure on coach Sarri
It didn’t matter how it was achieved, coach Sarri needed a victory of any kind against Huddersfield.
Chelsea took to the pitch just three days after suffering their worst defeat of the Roman Abramovich era at Bournemouth. The 4-0 drubbing was actually their heaviest since 1996.
Understandably there have been a lot of questions about his future in the aftermath and they would have grown if Chelsea hadn’t got all three points in a match-up with the Premier League’s bottom club.
There was nervous tension in the air until Eden Hazard put the game out of Huddersfield’s reach at 3-0 in the 66th minute.
Obviously a convincing victory over a side that has lost 11 of their last 12 matches is nothing to get too excited about, but it repairs some of the damage to confidence levels and the goal difference inflicted midweek.
There are much greater tests to come for the rest of the month though, starting with the away fixture at Manchester City on February 10.
Important for Higuain to get off the mark
There was a mixture of cheers and sighs of relief when Higuain opened his Chelsea account in the 16th minute.
Rightly or wrongly, the Argentina international has a lot resting on his shoulders after joining from Juventus on loan.
He is the man that Sarri is pinning his hopes on to make the 4-3-3 system more of a success in the second half of the season.
Higuain surprisingly turned down the opportunity of an easy goal on debut when he rejected Willian’s offer to take a penalty against Sheffield Wednesday.
Then in the disastrous performance against Bournemouth, the striker failed to get a single shot on goal.
But Higuain showed his class at Stamford Bridge today to provide optimism for the future.
There have been signs of his clever movement in the last two appearances, but here it paid off as he latched on to N’Golo Kante’s fine ball and found the net with a neat strike.