Sun 06 Oct 2013 13:30 (Attendance: 26,840)
The run of four away games in a row comes to an end this weekend. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton turn their attention from Europe to East Anglia…
Another lunchtime kick-off followed by another two-week break is not what textbooks might suggest to get the football juices flowing. The possibility of putting pressure on leaders Arsenal, who face Man United's conquerors West Brom later on Sunday, very much is.
Norwich are pleasant and challenging hosts but the Blues have departed with all the points on five of our last six visits. Incrementally the Mourinho master plan is falling back into place but still no centre-forward has scored a league goal this season (and they have not quite flowed in from other departments till Tuesday).
The defence is looking mean and well drilled and creativity is abundant in midfield. Yet a team aiming for win top honours needs someone up among the golden boot contenders and the team's confidence would be hugely enhanced by a spree from the strikers.
Sadly, in-form Fernando Torres injured his knee in Romania and has been ruled out for approximately three weeks and was, in any case, suspended from this match after his red card at Tottenham.
The FA's new review procedure ignored the media lynch mob pursuing the Spaniard over the clash with Jan Vertonghen, for which he was punished with a yellow. The panel's remit was published before the start of the season: if any official has seen the incident in question it is considered dealt with and cannot be reassessed.
Tuesday's performance and the result in response to the Basel setback had Mourinho saying his team is making good progress towards qualifying for the Champions League knockout phase.
The Portuguese also reserved a special hug for Andre Schurrle during the game and hailed him as 'the man' afterwards. The German looked delighted - another example of how the manager gets inside his players' heads.
With Samuel Eto'o looking more embedded game-by-game and involved in two of the goals in Bucharest, the new boys are beginning to have a big impact on the season. With injuries mounting that will have to continue apace.
The Steaua match brought our first away Champions League victory since the same 4-0 scoreline against Nordsjaelland a year ago. It is also the highest margin of victory for Mourinho's Blues since we won 4-0 in the FA Cup in February 2007 - against Norwich City. It is hopefully a sign the ruthlessness is returning to the Blues.
Julian Draxler's winner for Schalke in Switzerland has given them maximum points and group leadership. Our back-to-back matches with the Germans will go a long way to deciding the final standings, especially if Steaua can take points off Basel in their encounters.
This season Chelsea's U19s are mirroring the senior team's Champions League fixtures in the inaugural UEFA Youth League, which helps fill a void left by the suspension of the NextGen Series.
So far the youngsters have beaten both Basel and Steaua 4-0 and have looked superior to the opposition in terms of physical and technical development. If the games are yet to provide a truly stiff challenge, the travelling and organisation involved have offered the youngsters a valuable glimpse at what is demanded of the top modern footballer.
Domestically the first team have stumbled a few rungs down the Premier League table to fifth with Everton's Lukaku-led victory over a poor Newcastle side (and perhaps further before the kick-off at Norwich).
Several other sides in the top five face a difficult weekend and the Chelsea players will be keen to notch up our first away league win ahead of another international break - the third of the four scheduled between August and December.
The Blues have not been as impressive as usual on the road, though the trips have been to Old Trafford, White Hart Lane and Goodison Park.
In the summer Norwich City confronted the difficult third season issue head-on by helping manager Chris Hughton refresh every department of his squad. Having finished successively 12th and 11th they currently lie 14th having lost half of their six games to date.
Statistics show around 70% of promoted clubs who successfully navigate the first year in the Premier League go on to survive the second. The Canaries have already bettered their brief top-flight fling of 2004/05 - the year of Let's Be 'Avin' You - and recent transfer expenditure suggests the 1992-1995 experience is not lost on them either.
Twenty-two months after a highly creditable third-place finish in the inaugural Premier League of 1992/93, the new boys sent their fans home delirious with a 3-0 win over bitter rivals Ipswich Town.
Sadly they then endured a fatal slew of injuries, player sales, defeats and just four goals in eight games that saw them tumble from 11th to 20th and through the trapdoor. Memories of that drought may have guided the hand signing the cheques for Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Nathan Redmond et al in 2013.
Everton have lost once in four visits to Man City. West Brom have not beaten Arsenal at home since October 2005. The Hammers have not won at Spurs in over 14 years - Frank Lampard played for the victors.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Manchester City v Everton 12.45pm - BT Sport
Cardiff v Newcastle 3pm
Fulham v Stoke 3pm
Hull v Aston Villa 3pm
Liverpool v Crystal Palace 3pm
Sunderland v Manchester United 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Norwich v Chelsea 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Southampton v Swansea 1.30pm
Tottenham v West Ham 4pm
West Brom v Arsenal 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
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Chelsea, yet to win away in the league, face a side who garnered almost three-quarters of their points from home matches in 2012/13. Key players are sidelined by suspension or injury, yet the Blues are growing in confidence now and have a good record in this part of East Anglia.
Chris Hughton has a system that has worked pretty well for Norwich. When they have the ball his team bursts into life, with quick passing and bodies charging forward, both full-backs joining the fray.
The system contracts to an industrious 4-5-1 without the ball until they win it back. Hughton's work ethic requires pressing from all his players, their lone striker required to drop deep to harass opponents and force mistakes. However sometimes they start with such pace and effort that it becomes hard to sustain as the game progresses.
Record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel, with one goal and 19 fouls to his name (the most of any league player, City being the most penalised team), was preferred to fellow new boy Gary Hooper in the win at Stoke City last weekend.
Despite the influx, last season's low goalscoring remains an issue - they have four, the Premier League's joint lowest total, compared to Chelsea's seven. Grant Holt, who scored two of the Canaries' three goals in our last four meetings, is now with Nottingham Forest.
Earlier this week Chris Hughton was hopeful his pacy, cutting-in left winger Nathan Redmond, plus the experienced defenders Sebastien Bassong and Javier Garrido (pictured below left), would return from injury.
A key role in their central midfield has been defensive screen, asked to stop the kind of incisive passes and running players that can cause problems for Michael Turner and Ryan Bennett. With or without Bassong the central area is dominant in the air but less comfortable on the turf against fast-footed movement and passing; five of their six conceded goals have come from inside the box.
As well as asking his full-backs to curb their attacking enthusiasm, Hughton will want to double up in the midfield with a 4-2-3-1 rather than the 4-3-3 used last week at Stoke.
Two of Alexander Tettey (pictured above right), Leroy Fer and Jonny Howson may be asked to shackle the visitors' creative trio behind centre-forward Samuel Eto'o or Demba Ba. Fernando Torres has excelled in recent weeks but is suspended as well as injured. So far no Chelsea striker has scored a league goal.
He was relentless in exposing the Romanians' flaws down that flank and was involved in two of the Blues' four goals. Right-back Daniel Georgievski must have experienced new empathy with his biblical namesake in the lions' den.
The Rhineland raider is also very adept at pressing opponents deep in their own half, stifling attacks and gaining possession - a function not previously associated with fellow starter Juan Mata so much.
Mourinho has demanded the Spaniard add that to his game and he has responded impressively. 'Juan played very well with the ball, as he always does, and very good without the ball, as he never did,' observed the manager afterwards.
Late sloppiness from the Pensioners in Bucharest, perhaps understandable at 3-0 up, will have encouraged Hughton and his team to persevere whatever the scoreline. However Chelsea have not surrendered any league points from a winning position this season.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are unbeaten against the Canaries in the last nine league and cup matches (seven wins, two draws).
This is a fixture that has been played only since 1962/63 and not in the top flight until a decade later. The Canaries were in the Southern League until 1920/21 when they became founding members of Football League Division Three South. They were eventually promoted to Division One for the first time in 1972.
Their only trophy up to that point had been the nascent League Cup, won in 1961/62 and it was for the quarter-final of the same competition that Chelsea travelled to Carrow Road on Wednesday 17 November 1971.
The visiting Cup Winners Cup holders were in unpredictable form, though. Defence of the UEFA tournament had ended feebly with two draws against Atvidaberg and the away goals rule swinging progress the way of the Swedish part-timers.
The response in the league and League Cup had been three straight wins, nine goals scored and none conceded. Six of those strikes - including a hat-trick for Tommy Baldwin - had come at Bolton in the fourth round of the midweek cup.
Ron Saunders' City, unbeaten at home that season in the Second Division, would provide sterner resistance and with Wembley in sight the game was played at a frenzied pace. No quarter was given on either side and one raking tackle by Peter Osgood required defender David Stringer to leave the field and receive treatment a full 10 minutes. Tommy Baldwin was booked. Alan Hudson popped up everywhere.
Chelsea went into the break on level terms largely thanks (as ever) to two world-class saves by Peter Bonetti (pictured below) from Peter Howard's head then, with lightning reactions, a powerful Graham Paddon drive that was already being celebrated by home fans.
Norwich continued to apply pressure but midway through the second period Osgood made mockery of the boos and jeers he suffered with the perfect riposte. The Blues won a corner down the right which left-footer Peter Houseman delivered. Ossie rose above the pack and steered the ball beautifully past Kevin Keelan.
City pushed for an equaliser and their Scots winger Ken Foggo might have been the leveller when he beat the visitors' offside trap, only to fire wide. The game finished 1-0 and Chelsea beat Spurs 5-4 over the two-legged semi-final to reach Wembley, only to disappoint again, losing to Stoke City.
Norwich reached the final the following year but also had to settle for runners-up medals.
Norwich's last victory against the Blues was at Carrow Road in December 1994 when Jamie Cureton and a brace from Ashley Ward secured a 3-0 victory.
Norwich have won one point from the last 18 which was the goalless draw at Carrow Road in January 2012.
Our last 10 meetings at Carrow Road
1987/88 - Norwich won 3-0 - Old Division One
1989/90 - Norwich won 2-0 - Old Division One
1990/91 - Chelsea won 3-1 - Old Division One
1991/92 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Old Division One
1992/93 - Norwich won 2-1 - Premier League
1993/94 - Drew 1-1 - Premier League
1994/95 - Norwich won 3-0 - Premier League
2004/05 - Chelsea won 3-1 - Premier League
2011/12 - Drew 0-0 - Premier League
2012/13 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Premier League
Other fixture last season
6 October 2012 - Barclays Premier League
Torres 14 Holt 10
Norwich City v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 45
Chelsea wins 18
Norwich wins 14
Head to head in the League at Carrow Road
Games played 18
Chelsea wins 4
Norwich wins 8
Biggest league win at Carrow Road for each team
Norwich 4-1 Chelsea - 6 April 1963
Norwich 1-3 Chelsea - 17 April 1991, 5 March 2004
Chelsea lost to Norwich: 6,875
Norwich lost at home to a team from the capital: 284
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,060
Liverpool won the league: 8,555
Chelsea have won 31 points from the last 42 since the beginning of April.
The defeat at Everton is our only reverse in 14 Barclays Premier League matches.
We have won three, drawn three and lost one of our last seven away top-flight league games.
Chelsea have won all three league games when we have opened the scoring.
|Last six results|
|Sep 14||Everton (a)||L 0-1|
|Sep 18||Basel (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
|Sep 21||Fulham (h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 24||Swindon (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Sat 28||Tottenham (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 1||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League a)||
League games since
An away win: 3
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 1
|Chelsea's next three games|