Goals from two home-grown young players have secured the first win under Frank Lampard’s management.
Tammy Abraham’s first two goals for Chelsea and Mason Mount’s second in as many games did the damage at Carrow Road, the winner scored midway through the second half by our new no.9 after the first half had ended all-square at two apiece.
On a sunny early Saturday afternoon in Norfolk, it was a fast-paced game against our newly promoted opponents, who initially equalised quickly after Abraham had given the Blues an early lead with an excellent goal.
Mount restored our advantage before long with a sweet strike but again Norwich found a way through our defence for a leveller. We were more solid at the back after half-time although the Canaries did hit the woodwork from a set-piece after Abraham had struck his decisive second goal of the game.
There had been no shortage of entertainment throughout an open game but it is the visitors from London who go home happy, and with our first away league win in five outings stretching back to last season.
For today’s starting line-up there were three changes to the side which had begun the draw against Leicester last weekend. One was unplanned as Pedro injured a hamstring in the warm-up so Ross Barkley was a late addition to the side, with Mount asked to operate in a wider position.
Lampard explained before kick-off that N’Golo Kante had not recovered sufficiently from an ankle sprain so Mateo Kovacic was selected as his replacement, and that Abraham was chosen ahead of Olivier Giroud up front with the hope being that the youngster’s mobility would cause Norwich problems, which very quickly proved correct.
There were only three minutes on the clock when the 21-year-old opened the scoring with a sweetly struck low drive on the half-volley, the shot matching the quality of our move from deep in our half which had led to a Cesar Azpilicueta cross into the goalscorer.
However our lead lasted just three minutes as the home side managed to penetrate our midfield before playing the ball wide. From there Teemu Pukki set up Todd Cantwell for a close-range finish between the legs of the exposed Kepa.
Mount threatened to send Abraham through for a quick response but his pass was cut out before the young midfielder himself capped a short period of Chelsea pressure with our second goal on 17 minutes. Again the movement off the ball as we attacked was superb and it was Christian Pulisic who provided the assist, a lovely weighted reverse pass which Mount took inside the Canaries’ central defence before smashing the ball in.
It took a succession of blocks by our opponents to keep further efforts from Mount and Abraham from testing Tim Krul midway through the first half, but the Norwich keeper was called upon to make a very good save from Andreas Christensen who had met Emerson’s cross with a powerful header.
Then Jorginho was closed down and prevented from shooting at the end of a move he began when he caught Norwich dozing as they took a free-kick, but on half-an-hour the home side were sharper than the Blues when they levelled the scores for a second time.
Pukku was played in behind Kurt Zouma and was just onside. Kepa got a hand to the Finn’s low shot but could not prevent it from rolling into the net.
The Spaniard did save a follow-up shot from Grant Hanley soon after having pushed out a free-kick but it was Chelsea who finished the first half the stronger side, although Barkley wastefully shot wide with the final attempt before the interval. The teams went in level at 2-2.
Pulisic hit the side-netting at the start of the second half while Zouma was prominent in keeping Norwich at bay. We were pinning the home side back in their own half although there was less cohesion to our attacking play than earlier in the game.
With an hour gone we did work a shooting chance for Emerson who struck it firmly but straight at Krul. Barkley did similar from further out five minutes later before Kepa saved from Pukki shortly before we took the lead for the final time.
‘Oh Tammy, Tammy…’ chorused the noisy Chelsea travelling supporting moments after seeing Abraham collect a pass down the middle from Kovacic and work himself shooting space on the edge of the area. He found the back of the net low down to Krul’s right.
Norwich came within a whisker of a third equaliser when defender Ben Godfrey headed against the bar following a corner but did not go close again.
Barkley forced a late save from Krul shortly before the final whistle delivered a welcome three points. Next up in a week’s time we host another of the sides that came up from the Championship when Sheffield United are the visitors to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta (c); Zouma, Christensen, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pulisic (Willian 84), Barkley, Mount (Alonso 90+1); Abraham (Giroud 75).
Unused subs Caballero, Tomori, Batshuayi.
Scorers Abraham 3, 68 Mount 17
Booked Jorginho 33
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (c), Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull (Vrancic 81), Leitner (McLean 81), Cantwell, Stiepermann (Srbeny 81), Buendia; Pukki.
Unused subs Fahrmann, Byram, Roberts, Tettey.
Scorers Cantwell 6, Pukki 31
Booked Stiepermann 43
Referee Martin Atkinson