Chelsea hammered Norwich City at Stamford Bridge to triumph 7-0 in the Premier League as Mason Mount scored his first Chelsea hat-trick.
A relentless performance from the Blues blew our opponents away in west London, as we took just seven minutes to take the lead through Mount, as he fired into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
That was soon followed by a calm finish from Callum Hudson-Odoi one-on-one with goalkeeper Tim Krul after a brilliant through-ball by Mateo Kovacic, the first of three assists for the Croatian, and then Reece James lifted a clever finish over Krul to make it 3-0 before half-time.
If anything, we were even stronger after the break, as Ben Chilwell continued his brilliant run of form by scoring for his fourth consecutive Premier League appearance, and a combination of Max Aarons deflection and Krul fumble added an own goal to our tally.
Norwich defender Ben Gibson was then sent off for his second booking of the day, and there was still time for Mount to get two more goals, the first from a retaken penalty after Krul saved his first effort but had advanced off his line. Mount made sure he would be taking the matchball home in injury time when he tapped in Ruben Loftus-Cheek's selfless square pass.
Having come into this match without a goal to his name this season and never having scored more than once in a match for the Blues, Mount ended the day with his first Chelsea hat-trick.
Thomas Tuchel made five outfield changes to his team to face Norwich City, with Jorginho taking the captain's armband.
Edouard Mendy continued between the posts but there was one change to the back three that had played in front of him against Malmo in midweek, with Trevoh Chalobah, who started our last Premier League fixutre at Brentford, returning to the side in place of Andreas Christensen. Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger continued alongside him.
In midfield, Mateo Kovacic replaced N'Golo Kante to partner today's skipper Jorginho, as Cesar Azpilicueta made way for Reece James on the right. Ben Chilwell retained his place on the opposite flank after scoring on his last three Premier League appearances.
With Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both picking up injuries against Malmo, there was a new-look forward line for the Blues, with Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who combined for our third goal on Wednesday evening, coming into the team alongside Mason Mount.
Norwich were unchanged from the starting XI that drew 0-0 with Brighton at home in their previous Premier League match last week. Billy Gilmour was ineligible to play for the Canaries as he is on loan from Chelsea.
The day began with Chelsea paying tribute to Matthew Harding a day after the 25th anniversary of his death in a helicopter crash, as he returned from watching the Blues play away at Bolton Wanderers.
Before kick-off, those inside Stamford Bridge rose for a minute’s applause in memory of the supporter whose investment contributed to the development of our stadium and growth of the team in the Nineties, with chants of ‘there’s only one Matthew Harding’ ringing out from the stand that now carries his name.
Wasting no time
It was bright start by the Blues, as a misplaced pass by the visitors in our half allowed us to break forward with Hudson-Odoi. That move eventually broke down, but by then we had established ourselves up the field and showed no sign of retreating during the early exchanges.
The best chances of that opening spell of possession came when a clever Jorginho ball narrowly evaded Hudson-Odoi and Havertz in the box and then Rudiger forced a low save from Tim Krul with an effort from range.
However, we didn’t have to wait long to take the lead, as we struck first inside 10 minutes. It came from another purposeful run down the left from Hudson-Odoi, but this time his floated cross was headed clear by the Norwich defenders.
That clearance only made it as far as Kovacic just outside the penalty area, though, and when he laid the ball off for Mount, there was only one thought in our number 19’s mind. Mount took one touch to steady himself and then drilled a low shot perfectly into the bottom left corner. It was the 22-year-old’s first goal of the season.
Norwich tried to find a way back into the game, but without success, and before long another Chelsea man had opened his account for the season. It started with an attempted attack from the visitors, but Thiago Silva was alert to snuff out the through-ball to Teemu Pukki and feed it to Rudiger on the left.
The defender charged forward to the half-way line before handing possession over to Kovacic. The Croatian produced a brilliant defence-splitting pass into the path of Hudson-Odoi, and the winger showed great composure by waiting for the goalkeeper to blink first before rolling a shot underneath Krul and into the back of the net.
Keeping up the pressure
Despite our two-goal lead, the Blues were showing no signs of easing off, with Hudson-Odoi in particular looking like he was enjoying himself as he continued to find space against the Canaries.
Indeed, it was through the 20-year-old that our next chance arrived, as he ran at the Norwich defence on the left and cut inside, before finding Mount with a low pass towards the back post, but our number 19’s shot was too close to Krul, allowing the goalkeeper to hold despite having plenty of power behind it.
For Norwich’s part, they were struggling to find a way to threaten Mendy’s goal during their occasional ventures into the Chelsea half, with their best effort of the first half coming when Ozan Kabak dispossessed Hudson-Odoi and fired a shot well over the bar from long range.
In fact, it was the Blues who added a third goal to our tally before the break, this time at the end of a long patient spell of possession in Norwich’s half, it was Mount who turned provider as a third Academy graduate got his name on the score sheet.
Mount held the ball just outside the box on the right as he waited for James’ over-lapping run into the box and slid a perfectly-weighted pass for the wing-back to meet. Again the Chelsea man won the battle of nerves with Krul, this time lifting a clever finish over the keeper as he dived at his feet, handing us a 3-0 lead to take into half-time.
No letting off
Norwich manager Daniel Farke made his feelings on the first half clear when he made two substitutions at the break, but it had little in the way of immediate impact as the Blues started the second period still well on top.
Krul had to be strong off his line to pluck a Hudson-Odoi cross away from Havertz’s head, and Ben Gibson did well to block the German’s shot as he threatened to get free in the box.
However, we had Mendy to thank for preventing Norwich pulling a goal back, against the run of play. Chilwell will be particularly grateful to his goalkeeper after his mishit pass released substitute Milot Rashica behind our defence, but Mendy did brilliantly to stretch out a foot and tackle the winger as he tried to round our keeper.
Normal service was soon resumed, though, and fittingly it was Chilwell who provided our next goal, scoring for the fourth time in as many Premier League appearances as his incredible scoring run continued.
It started with James winning the ball well out wide on the halfway line before a neat one-two between Mount and Jorginho ended with Kovacic receiving the ball on the edge of the box. He fed Chilwell to the left and our wing-back made no mistake, drilling low across the goal and into the bottom corner. Impressively, that meant Kovacic had registered his third assist of the game.
Amazingly, just five minutes later we had a fifth goal, although there was a big slice of luck for the Blues. Hudson-Odoi again found space out on the left wing, but this time his low cross took a touch as Norwich defender Max Aarons stretched in an attempt to block, but only diverted it towards goal, wrong-footing Krul as the ball evaded the goalkeeper's grasp and bounced across the line for an own goal.
Things went from bad to worse for the Canaries shortly afterwards, as Gibson clattered into the back of James and left the referee with no option but to show the defender his second yellow card of the afternoon and issue his marching orders.
Tuchel made three changes in quick succession, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Hakim Ziyech all coming on. Needless to say, 5-0 up against 10 men, the newcomers to the game were eager to make their mark.
A deflected effort from Loftus-Cheek had Krul scrambling to save before Barkley fired a powerful effort narrowly over the bar, as did Chilwell, and Ziyech was inches away from curling a shot inside the far post. Krul’s goal was peppered with shots in the closing stages as the Blues continued to enjoy themselves, with the pick of the Dutchman’s saves probably tipping a Barkley effort around the post after being played in by Kovacic.
There were even more goals to come before the end, though. First, Rudiger’s shot in the box was charged down and, after a lengthy VAR review, it was determined Mathias Normann had blocked with his hands and a penalty was awarded. The drama didn’t end there either. Krul saved Mount’s spot kick, but had stepped forward off his line, allowing Mount the chance to try again. This time he went straight down the middle and, although the goalkeeper got a leg to it, it wasn’t enough to stop the midfielder getting his second goal of the day.
Chelsea and Mount weren't done just yet though, as in injury time Ziyech and Lotus-Cheek combined with a one-two to release the latter, and he selfishly squared for Mount to tap in and complete the first Chelsea hat-trick of his career. As harsh as it may seem on Norwich, the seven-goal winning margin at the end of the game was a fair reflection of the total dominance we had shown from the first minute until the last at Stamford Bridge.
We are back at Stamford Bridge in three days' time, this time in the Carabao Cup as we host Southampton at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening. Next Saturday, we then take the long trip north to Newcastle United in the Premier League, with kick-off at 3pm.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho (c) (Loftus-Cheek 62), Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz (Barkley 70), Hudson-Odoi (Ziyech 70)
Unused subs: Kepa, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Sarr, Saul
Scorer: Mount 7, pen 85, 90+1 Hudson-Odoi 18, James 42, Chilwell 57, Aarons og 62
Norwich City (3-5-2): Krul; Kabak, Hanley (c), Gibson; Aarons, Lees-Melou (Rashica h-t), McLean, Normann, Giannoulis (Williams h-t); Pukki, Sargent (Omobamidele 69)
Unused subs: Gunn, Sorensen, Dowell, Rupp, Tzolis, Idah
Booked: Lees-Melou 45, Gibson 55, Normann 83
Sent off: Gibson 65 (second yellow)
Referee: Andrew Madley