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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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.