Sports fans across the globe were delighted to welcome the return of the English Premier League. The World Cup was fun, of course, but not a lot can compare to the pursuit of points in one of planet football’s most competitive divisions.
Manchester United and Leicester City brought the curtain up with a tense meeting at Old Trafford, a tie the Red Devils nicked courtesy of a 2-1 final score. That win may have eased the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho slightly, but fans were far from impressed by the performance.
The pre-season build up was all about supporting Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United while opposing the likes of Cardiff, Huddersfield and Brighton, who were the top three in the betting to be relegated. Unsurprisingly, all three sides lost, failed to score an opening-round goal and conceded a combined seven. On that showing alone, it looks like oddsmakers were shrewd in their approach.
Huddersfield were the only team of the three to enjoy home advantage, not that it did them any good. The Terriers welcomed Chelsea to West Yorkshire and although there were murmurs that an upset could be on the cards following the Blues’ 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield just six days prior, there was to be no shock. Not even close.
Kante got the ball rolling for new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes before Jorginho doubled that advantage when netting from the penalty spot 45 minutes into his club debut. Huddersfield boss David Wagner would’ve read the riot act at half-time but it did his side no good, with Pedro scoring a third and final goal inside the last ten minutes of the contest.
As well as the result, the stats don’t do much to inspire confidence amongst Huddersfield fans either. They have now lost five of their last seven opening matches of the season, failing to score in each of those defeats, and they’ve collected just nine points from the last 36 available to them at home in the Premier League.
Wagner could do no more than admit they were beaten by the better side when addressing the waiting media at full-time. The 46-year-old German labelled Chelsea clinical, but said he had seen enough in week one to be confident for the season ahead.
That confidence is not shared by bookmakers who are offering Huddersfield at odds-on 10/11 in the updated Premiership betting to be relegated. That posts them second behind favourites Cardiff and a touch shorter than Brighton.
Second-bottom of the pile after one game, Huddersfield now face a tough run of fixtures. They are away to champions Manchester City in week two before hosting Cardiff in an early-season relegation battle. Failure to take at least three points from the first nine up for grabs will crank up the pressure.