Chelsea’s third Premier League game of the new season sees them face Norwich at the Bridge this Saturday. The Chelsea faithful will be looking for an improved performance after being slightly disappointed by the tricky 2-1 victory over West Brom but Norwich will be no slouches either and are a well drilled, hard-working outfit that should not be underestimated. Fans should maybe think twice before betting on 5-0 and 6-0’s, despite the fact we have won our last four while scoring at least three each time, against the Norfolk side. Andre will have done his meticulous preparation and homework once again and will be prepared for a feisty, difficult encounter in which three points is surely a must. He has described Norwich’s style as “a mixture of European flair and British attacking style.”
There are many that say Andre has changed Chelsea’s style, with more width and high tempo his focal new approach, highlighted by Chelsea having put in more crosses than anyone after the first two weeks.
Chelsea fans will look forward to hopefully seeing a glimpse of some of our new signings, particular Juan Mata, who signed for just over £20m from Valencia this week. He seems to have the pace, quality and trickery that we’ve been missing for quite a while now but it looks likely he’ll start on the bench if anything, with Andre saying this fixture has come too soon for him. There could also be debuts for self-proclaimed Chelsea nut Romelu Lukaku, who we hope could be the next Drogba as the current one continues to sulk on the bench, and Oriol Romeu, a defensive Midfielder who signed from Barcelona.
The newly promoted Canaries from Carrow Road have had a pleasant, steady although not emphatic start to their first Premier League campaign in seven years and will not be discontent with having two points on the board after two games, following 1-1 draws away to Wigan and at home to Stoke. They will be disappointed with how an injury time equaliser from Kenwyne Jones on Sunday stopped them from being level on points with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa at this early stage, but their target all season will be merely to finish 17th and stay in the division they so unexpectedly got promoted to after two promotions in a row.
Much of that success is thanks to Paul Lambert, another young manager who is doing very well for himself. The story of how Lambert got the job is an amusing one, after leading his previous side Colchester to a 7-1 victory over Norwich on the opening day of their league one season, Norwich subsequently sacked their manager Brian Gunn and hired Lambert, who then took them to two consecutive promotions, both at the first time of asking. Will his genius be shown in full glory this season or will he be found out in the big league? Goals certainly shouldn’t be too much of a problem; they were top scorers in the Championship last season, but have failed to score against us in 5 of our last 7 meetings. They won’t let a 4-0 home defeat to MK Dons in the Carling Cup in midweek worry them too much.
The Norwich XI is difficult to predict, and they have used more players than any other club so far this season, with 19. Whether the Chelsea line-up will change is also questionable. Sturridge sits out the third and final game of his ban, while Luiz and of course Essien are out injured. Will Ivanovic replace Alex, after his mistake in letting Long in for the West Brom goal? Will Kalou start a third game running, despite some sections of the crowd showing their frustrations and some even cheering when he was replaced early last Saturday? Should Drogba start over Torres? One man safe in his position at the moment is Bosingwa, who has been excellent for the first two games and exceeded expectations after being derided at the end of the Carlo era.
When Norwich were last in the Premiership in 2004-5, the year of our first Title win for 50 years, Delia’s famous “where are you” screech and Survival Sunday, in which Norwich went out with a whimper losing 6-0 at home to Fulham. That season, we thrashed them 4-0 at home in an excellent team display, in which Robben was emphatic, and beat them 3-1 away in March on a day where United lost at Palace and we really started to believe the title could be ours. Another great Norwich memory is of course the fantastic Zola backheel goal in the FA Cup in 2002.
After this game there is an international break(boo) before tough trips up north to firstly Sunderland and then a huge game against Man United. Three points this Saturday is vital in setting us up well for a tough couple of games ahead.
In other news, Chelsea have drawn Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Genk in the Champions League group stages, in a draw that will intrigue former Blue Michael Ballack and new Blue Juan Mata.
Enjoy the game