Chelsea’s Boxing Day fixture see’s the Blues’ journey across to East Anglia and Carrow Road, to entertain a rejuvenated Norwich side since the last meeting between the two.
The Christmas period had seen Chelsea slip out of the Champions League, lose the World Club Cup Final before thrashing Leeds United at Elland Road. Chelsea systematically demolished Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge last time out, whilst Norwich had gone 10 games unbeaten before their undoing against Steve Clarke and Romelu Lukaku last weekend.
Chris Hughton’s side play a traditional flat 4-4-2 with their home form (they have won their last 5 on the bounce at Carrow Road) invaluable to maintaining their mid-table standing. The Canaries’ have beaten United and Arsenal at home this season and Chelsea will have to be sharp to plug the rush of Grant Holt, Bradley Johnson and in-form Anthony Pilkington. ‘Keeper John Ruddy is not expected to feature after a long-term injury lay off whilst Andrew Surman should also miss out.
Chelsea will welcome back John Obi Mikel from suspension whilst John Terry and Oriol Romeu remain sidelined.
The implications for Chelsea come quarter past 5 on Saturday afternoon can be broken down as the following: a win will see us move up to 35 points, 4 behind City and 8 behind United, whom entertain Newcastle and Sunderland respectively. A draw will see us move to 33 points, and rivals Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and West Brom to draw level with us. A loss could see us be leapfrogged by all four of these teams and see us drop to as low as 7th, despite having a game in hand.
The 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa was a perfect Christmas gift after a turbulent few months at the Bridge, leaving the Chelsea crowd waving the away support home, suggesting they “should have gone Christmas shopping”. Rafael Benitez has tweaked the side around, and the improvements are starting to show. Mata, Hazard and Moses played the ball quickly and directly against Villa, to great effect.
Hopefully we can pick up where we left off on Sunday, with 3 points at Carrow Road where we could only muster a 0-0 draw last season. Merry Christmas to you all and KTBFFH!
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