Sat 06 Oct 2012 15:00 (Attendance: 41,784)
The seven-game burst of games between international breaks comes to a halt as we entertain East Anglian opposition this weekend. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton study Saturday's fixture…
The defending champions jolted back on track in the Champions League in midweek, but as we head into another international break it is further success in the Barclays Premier League that occupies everyone's minds. Roberto Di Matteo's side are targeting a fifth straight win, something not achieved since the six in August/September 2010.
David Luiz's sublime strike in the 4-0 win over Nordsjaelland brought our second direct free-kick goal in four days - an improvement on just one in all competitions last season (Frank Lampard's in the semi-final slaughter of Tottenham).
It was our highest scoring away win in Europe since Rosenborg in November 2007. The Brazuca himself said afterwards that - with the Blues top of the Premier League and the Champions League - 'everyone is happy at the moment.'
Though fine words butter no cherivia in October, stylish, resilient performances are convincing evidence that the integration of new young players is proceeding well, with the Spanish and Brazilians contributing significantly.
While the Blues are in better shape at the opening of any campaign since the Double season, Norwich are enduring their worst ever start in the top flight.
City's slice of Rio is the playing of 'Samba De Janeiro' to klaxon each home goal. The bateria's drumming had a hollow ring when they pulled goals back while being battered by Liverpool 2-5. On the plus side they doubled their league tally with firsts of the campaign for strikers Steve Morison and Grant Holt.
Three of the same back five used on Saturday also shipped five on their most recent visit to west London, the opening day of the season at Fulham. Absent from both drubbings was ex-Spur Sebastien Bassong, who may be back this weekend.
Eleven goals have been conceded in his absence, against just two when he has been on the pitch.
This time last season the Canaries were perched proudly in the top half of the table. Early in the campaign they had clawed back to 1-1 at the Bridge and played well until John Ruddy's late dismissal helped the Blues ease to a 3-1 victory.
Chris Hughton has since replaced the popular Paul Lambert and after some swift, strident changes is searching for the right formation for the best players available.
Before last weekend's setback their games were low scoring at both ends. Having shipped five, Hughton will be looking for a strong reaction from his players. Perhaps he could venture a, 'Come on! Let's be 'avin' you!' Or is that a recipe for disaster?
This will be Chelsea's 12th game of the season, three more than City. Already 13 different Blues players have hit the net, just two fewer than the whole of the last season. Seven of the last ten goals have been scored by a Spaniard.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Manchester City v Sunderland 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Chelsea v Norwich 3pm
Swansea v Reading 3pm
West Brom v QPR 3pm
Wigan v Everton 3pm
West Ham v Arsenal 5.30pm - ESPN
Southampton v Fulham 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Liverpool v Stoke 3pm
Tottenham v Aston Villa 3pm
Newcastle v Manchester United 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table|
Premier League Golden Glove
Cech (Chelsea) 4
Foster (West Brom) 3
Jaaskelainen (West Ham) 3
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To continue the countdown to Chelsea blue taking on Canary yellow today, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by former player Clive Walker…
The league leaders aim to avoid a first defeat against Norwich since 1994 and take a three-point lead at the top into the international break. Former Blues winger Clive Walker weighs up how that may be achieved.
'I think Robbie Di Matteo deserves a lot of credit for the way he has picked the right team for most occasions so far,' says Clive. 'It is still early days and there is lots of hard work still to do but he has been able to set out a good tactical line-up to get the result while giving the right players game time or a rest.
'It's about getting points in the bag, the ultimate goal being to win the Premier League. From what I have seen so far I reckon we've got a chance of winning it. The players have got to believe, and the fans too. Winning the title back would be the ultimate after last year.
'John Terry is still the best central defender at the club but he was given the night off on Tuesday and we still kept a clean sheet away to what was a talented Nordsjaelland team.
'I imagine JT will be back in the team on Saturday because although any two from the three centre-halves is a good one, you want your captain leading, organising and keeping it solid.
'Norwich have not been setting the world on fire in front of goal but they have some quality upfront. Last season pundits were calling for Grant Holt to be called up for Euro 2012, and he scored against us here, after a mix-up between Henrique Hilario and Branislav Ivanovic.
'He's a big, powerful lad and he will have the bit between his teeth after scoring against Liverpool. Steve Morison too, and he's a similarly burly sort of player. Norwich will be looking for the ball behind for the forwards to run on to.
'The new boy Simeon Jackson is quicker and more mobile and has been partnering Holt upfront in a 4-4-2, but they switched to a 4-2-3-1 when the Ghanaian, Alexander Tettey, was put on in midfield and I think that's how they'll set up on Saturday.
'Paul Lambert came here and attacked, but I can see Chris Hughton thinking safety first is the best policy when you visit Stamford Bridge. It may be another Stoke, where everyone - players, crowd - have to remain patient and whoever has the chance must take it, just like Ashley Cole did.
'It really helps if you're knocking them in from set plays. You have that extra confidence every time there's a dead-ball situation and the opposition are nervous too.
'Let's be honest we haven't been scoring many free kicks in recent seasons and fans love to see more of a threat there. It's those moments that can swing a tough match. Long may it continue.
'I would have thought Tettey will be a defensive anchor in midfield, and that will be his first Premier League start since switching from Rennes in the French league. He will have his work cut out, whoever Robbie selects to play in that forward three behind Fernando Torres. I wouldn't want to face that lot straight away - any visitor making their debut against us is perfect.
'Norwich know they will have to deal with loads of pace, energy and quick passes. If they're not careful they will be giving away fouls in very dangerous areas. We saw that last week - and that was against Arsenal, who are a top side.
'Juan Mata especially stands out at the moment. When he is on the ball he uses it very well. He's making and scoring the goals too. That rest he had has given him a new lease of life.
'For a young man Oscar does a job for the team, like limiting Mikel Arteta's contribution last Saturday, and he may have a slightly freer role against Norwich, especially if Mikel - who is having an excellent season - returns as expected. The system change, with two in there, has made him a much, much better player.
'This might be a chance for Brana to have a break - he has played every minute in the league and Champions League so far and may play for Serbia next week too. We saw Cesar Azpilicueta's all-round qualities as a right-back against Wolves and the fans took to him straight away. Having said that the management may be reluctant to break up a full-back pairing that is working so well.
'One thing Robbie and his staff might consider, though, is that City's Javier Garrido had a bit of a nightmare last time he was here with Man City, a few years back.
'We beat them 6-0 and he was pretty much at fault on every goal. Hughton will not want him switching off like he did then, but a tricky player down our right might cause him problems.'
Daniel Sturridge's hamstring injury will keep the striker out for one more game. He is expected to be fit for the next match after the international break.
For Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong (hamstring) and wideman Anthony Pilkington (back) could return.
Full-back Steven Whittaker is out with an ankle injury and striker Harry Kane, on-loan from Spurs, has a broken metatarsal.
KEY TWEET ANSWER
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WE HAVE HISTORY
This fixture was first played on Saturday 17 November 1962 in Division Two, with a little under 29,000 spectators present.
The Canaries were then managed by former Arsenal goalie George Swindin, well-known to the recently dismissed Chelsea boss, Ted Drake.
The new man at Stamford Bridge, Tommy Docherty, was building a team as youthful and dynamic as himself, determined to burst out of Division Two at the first attempt.
'Just to watch this Chelsea team, with their verve, their non-stop aggression, their go-man-go approach, is to rekindle all the excitement where once there was misery and mockery,' the Daily Mirror's John Bromley would enthuse afterwards.
The Blues topped the table at the time, with the Canaries four points behind. The Norfolk side, skippered by craggy centre-half Ron Ashman, were vastly more experienced and brawny, and attempted to knock the young Londoners out of their stride.
Yet the visitors blew a great chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes and rarely had the upper hand again, with Chelsea's overlapping right-back Ken Shellito (pictured below) putting in another eye-catching shift. He was one of seven starters who had come through the youth team ranks at the Bridge. Old stagers John Mortimore and Frank Upton provided protection when required.
Midway through the first half Bobby Tambling managed to make a goal look so simple fans could be forgiven for thinking recently departed Jimmy Greaves might not be missed after all.
Tambling completed the scoring in the 70th minute with an opportunist's header.
This weekend Chelsea are looking for a sixth successive win at Stamford Bridge against the Canaries in league and cup. The last occasion Norwich won at the Bridge was in October 1993 when Ruel Fox and Chris Sutton scored midway through each half. Gavin Peacock reduced the deficit from a Steve Clarke cross-header.
Between 1990 and 1993 Norwich were unbeaten at Stamford Bridge drawing two and winning three top-flight matches.
Our last 10 League meetings at Stamford Bridge
1989/90 - Drew 0-0 - Old Division One
1990/91 - Drew 1-1 - Old Division One
1991/92 - Norwich won 3-0 - Old Division One
1992/93 - Norwich won 3-2 - Premier League
1993/94 - Norwich won 2-1 - Premier League
1994/95 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Premier League
2001/02 - Chelsea won 4-0 - FA Cup
2004/05 - Chelsea won 4-0 - Premier League
2006/07 - Chelsea won 4-0 - FA Cup
2011/12 - Chelsea won 3-1 - Premier League
Other match last season
21 January 2012 Barclays Premier League
Norwich City…..….0 Chelsea………..……0
Chelsea v Norwich City in all competitions
Games played 43
Chelsea wins 16
Norwich wins 14
Head-to-head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 17
Chelsea wins 8
Norwich wins 4
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 4-0 Norwich - 18/12/2004
Chelsea 0-3 Norwich - 16/11/1991
Chelsea dropped points to Norwich at Stamford Bridge: 6,930
Norwich kept an away clean sheet in the Premier League: 2,912
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,695
Liverpool won the league: 8,190
Visit again tomorrow for the second part of the briefing.
The Blues are hoping for a fifth straight win in all competitions.
Chelsea boast the Barclays Premier League's tightest defence, conceding three goals in six matches.
The Blues are eight points better off after six games than in last season's corresponding fixtures.
On each of the five occasions we have opened the scoring in the Premier League this term we have gone on to win the match.
Chelsea have won 12 of our last 14 games at Stamford Bridge. Newcastle are the only team to have won here in that time, with Tottenham gaining a point in a goalless draw.
|Last six results|
|Sep 15||QPR (a)||D 0-0|
|Sep 19||Juventus (Champions League h)||D 2-2|
|Sep 22||Stoke (h)||W 1-0|
|Sep 25||Wolves (League Cup h)||W 6-0|
|Sep 29||Arsenal (a)||W 2-1|
|Oct 2||FC Nordsjaelland (Champions League a)||W 4-0|
Premier League scorers
Torres 3, Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Cahill 1, Cole 1, Hazard 1 (pen), Mata 1. Total 11.
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 7
A home defeat: 4
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 20 Oct||Tottenham Hotspur away||12.45pm|
|Tue 23 Oct||Shakhtar Donetsk (CL) away||7.45pm|
|Sun 28 Oct||Manchester United home||4pm|
If selected, John Mikel Obi with make his 250th appearance for the club
Petr Cech's next appearance will be his 380th, bringing him equal to Peter Osgood as our 12th all-time appearance maker
Frank Lampard is one goal away from equalling our all-time league scorer in top-flight matches, Bobby Tambling, with 129 goals. He is currently level with Roy Bentley with 128.
John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues
2 League Cups in 1962 and 1985
Norwich's highest league finish was in the Premier League in 1992/93 when they finished third behind champions Man Utd and runners-up Aston Villa.
Norwich are still looking for their first Premier League win of the season. They have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games - Aston Villa at home on 13 May.
The Canaries have only gained one point after going behind.
Chris Hughton's men, with QPR, have the lowest goal tally in the top flight with four goals in six games. They have only breached the net once in their three away matches.
Manager Chris Hughton
Days in charge: 121
Norwich's last 10 year league history
|2002/03||69||8th||League Division One||2|
|2003/04||94||1st||League Division One||2|
|Last six results|
|Aug 28||Scunthorpe (League Cup h)||W 2-1|
|Sep 1||Tottenham (a)||D 1-1|
|Sep 15||West Ham (h)||D 0-0|
|Sep 23||Newcastle (a)||L 0-1|
|Sep 26||Doncaster (League Cup h)||W 1-0|
|Sep 29||Liverpool (h)||L 2-5|
Premier League scorers
Holt 1, Jackson 1, Morison 1, Snodgrass 1. Total 4.
League games since
An away win: 5
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 0
Ins Sebastien Bassong (Tottenham, undisclosed), Mark Bunn (Blackburn, undisclosed), Jacob Butterfield (Barnsley, undisclosed), Harry Kane (Tottenham, loan), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds, £3m), Michael Turner (Sunderland, undisclosed), Steven Whittaker (Rangers, free), Javier Garrido (Lazio, loan), Alexander Tettey (Rennes, undisclosed).
Outs David Ayala (Nottingham Forest, loan), Andrew Crofts (Brighton, undisclosed), Zak Whitbread (Leicester, free), Aaron Wilbraham (Crystal Palace, free), James Vaughan (Huddersfield, loan), Adam Drury (Leeds, free).
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Anthony Taylor is refereeing his third Chelsea match but first in the Premier League. His two previous games were last season's FA Cup: the 4-0 victory over Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge and the 2-0 win at Birmingham - Roberto Di Matteo's first match in charge.
There are no suspensions.
Chelsea's impressive start to the season continues after we came from behind to earn a convincing win against Norwich at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The visitors went in front early through forward Grant Holt, but Fernando Torres quickly levelled with a fine header, and 10 minutes later we were ahead when Frank Lampard rattled home a superb half-volley.
A swift counter-attack from Juan Mata allowed him to create a third for Eden Hazard, and Branislav Ivanovic smashed a fourth in the second half to maintain our unbeaten start to the campaign and move us four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Roberto Di Matteo made three changes to the side that beat FC Nordsjaelland on Tuesday night, with Hazard and John Terry both back in the team, and John Mikel Obi recalled to play his 250th Chelsea game.
Those three replaced Victor Moses, Gary Cahill and Ramires, all of whom were on the bench. Hazard started on the left, with in-form Mata on the right with the licence to cut inside. Ashley Cole also started despite making the headlines in the newspapers.
Norwich, beaten 5-2 by Liverpool last weekend, were much-changed, with former Spurs centre-back Sebastien Bassong returning in defence, and last season's top scorer and captain Grant Holt leading the attack.
Chelsea's bench included Cesar Azpilicueta, who would make a late appearance for a league debut.
Chelsea should have been in front inside three minutes, when Fernando Torres beat the offside trap and was set free by Mikel's lofted pass. The striker ran on, but then inexplicably opted to try and turn into a crowded penalty area rather than shoot with his stronger right foot. The hesitation allowed Bassong in to block.
It was not long before we were made to pay, as Holt fired Norwich in front on 10 minutes, striking hard and low past a helpless Petr Cech after Leon Barnett had nodded Wes Hoolahan's cross down. The visitors had been afforded far too much space both in delivering and meeting the cross, and Holt was typically uncompromising with his blasted finish.
Torres had some making up to do, and was quickly demonstrating his instinctive best as he headed Chelsea level three minutes later. Branislav Ivanovic combined with Mata to whip a cross into the box from the right, and the former Liverpool hitman was on hand to meet the ball and direct it hard into John Ruddy's bottom right-hand corner. Honours even and Torres forgiven for his earlier indecision.
Most would have expected the equaliser to settle the nerves around Stamford Bridge, but defensively the Blues still looked incredibly unorganised. Hoolahan's cross was met by Alexander Tettey who couldn't direct the header, and then with another bite of the cherry Bradley Johnson could only side-foot straight at Cech.
This time it was Norwich who would regret their profligacy, as Frank Lampard converted a superbly-struck half-volley from the edge of the box, after Torres had seen an overhead kick blocked by a defender.
It was Lampard's 189th Chelsea goal, and his 129thin the Premier League, to take him ahead of Roy Bentley and level with Bobby Tambling for club league strikes.
It was turning into a good afternoon for the Stamford Bridge faithful, and it would get even better on the 30-minute mark when Mata robbed the ball in his own half following a Norwich corner, and broke fast into opposition territory.
With options right and left, he went left, and found Hazard with a perfectly weighted pass, allowing the Belgian the simple task of side-footing beyond Ruddy to double our advantage.
Norwich are yet to win this season, and Hughton had demanded a reaction after the Liverpool defeat last week. They provided one with the ingenuity of Hoolahan, the diminutive midfielder, at the heart of all they did good. It was his low cross, aimed for Holt, that forced Terry to almost divert into his own goal.
Back on the front foot, Oscar, until this point quiet, danced around two challenges inside the box before passing the ball low towards goal, bringing a lively save from Ruddy.
Shortly before the break there were signs once again that defensively, Chelsea were not as tight as we have been. Johnson's deep cross found Holt with space, though Terry did just enough in closing him down to force the striker off-target with his header.
The second period began in the same fashion as the first ended, Holt glancing a header just wide under pressure from Terry as Norwich sought a way back into the game.
Had referee Anthony Taylor seen things a little differently they might have been well out of it by the 53rd minute, with Hazard tripped by Barnett inside the box when chasing a pass. There was a clear obstruction of the Chelsea man, who felt he should have had a penalty.
Ruddy then made two decent stops, one from Oscar, the next from Hazard, who was denied by the keeper's legs after tidy Chelsea passing.
Ramires was brought on for Lampard to add a little more protection, but further up the pitch there was still fun to be had as Ivanovic crashed home a fourth to put us in complete control.
Oscar crossed from the left, eventually finding Mata, whose flick into the air fell perfectly for the Serbian to hammer home into the bottom corner.
With the game won it was time for Chelsea's great entertainers to enjoy themselves, with the fantastic three of Mata, Hazard and Oscar running Norwich's midfield ragged, while sub Oriol Romeu twice went narrowly wide as he sought a first league goal to add to his Capital One Cup penalty against Wolves last week.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 78), David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Mikel (Romeu 82), Lampard (Ramires 67); Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Cahill, Bertrand, Moses.
Goals Torres 14, Lampard 21, Hazard 30, Ivanovic 76
Norwich City (4-4-1-1): Ruddy; R Martin, Barnett, Bassong (R Bennett 78), Garrido; E Bennett, Howson, Tettey, Johnson (Pilkington 68); Hoolahan; Holt (c) (Morison 77).
Unused subs Bunn, Snodgrass, Turner, Jackson.
Goals Holt 10
Referee Anthony Taylor