A patient approach towards Norwich City at Carrow Road this weekend allowed Chelsea to fail in gaining the initiative in closing the gap on the league leaders, after a lackluster attacking performance allowed Norwich to record their first clean sheet.
This weekend’s clash against Norwich City was a primitive opportunity to recover lost ground knowing fellow Champions League qualifying hopefuls and title contenders were playing one another on Sunday. The failure to claim all three points is a mere summary of the inconsistent campaign that Chelsea have played out so far this season.
The key element of Chelsea’s season thus far this season is of patience. Patience in asking when a run of significant results will be collated. Patience in when Fernando Torres will finally reach regular goal scoring form, and patience with waiting for the exile of deadwood members of the squad.
Yet it was the patience throughout the passage of play Chelsea used at Carrow Road that offered a sense of frustration after the final whistle. A 0-0 score line was a fair result that justified an equal encounter, yet the feeling of leaving almost empty handed and a lost opportunity was very much present.
The match was reminiscent of the away trip to Wigan, with sense of automatic victory by just turning up seen in the players, only for the very performance being detrimental to the expected outcome. Saturday’s approach was very measured and calculated, with no speed to the buildup of the opponents penalty area much like against Wigan, only this time the elusive finishing touch was running amok within the strike force of the Chelsea attackers.
Norwich City earned their first clean sheet since their return to the Premiership, but whilst they were well organised, tight with zonal marking and possessed a goalkeeper in inspired form, the clean sheet would usually symbolize a battling defensive display, but for all the Blues comfort in possession, Norwich were equally comfortable with guarding their penalty box.
The first half had a prerogative of a confident looking Chelsea guiding the ball around the backline and controlling the midfield area with the ball, but lacking a definitive cutting edge when entering the final third. Chances were few and far between with only the attempt from Torres flicking the ball around a defender towards the far past, producing a good save from the keeper to tip it for a corner.
Patience in Chelsea’s play invited a sense of inevitability of securing all three points, yet the same patience typifies the Chelsea fans character this season, with the hope each weekend that a genuine Blue machine will turnout. The visit at Carrow Road begged for more urgency with the play, a quicker speed with the passing and more dynamism on the wings, yet this was missing even in the second half.
Improvements were made and chances engineered in a Chelsea dominated second half but finishing was poor and a heightened sense of urgency only arrived in the latter stages of the match. A sense of needing to win and the importance of three points did not appear to be instilled in the players from the kick off.
Nothing should be taken away from Norwich’s performance who competed with a stalwart defensive performance and leading from the frontline. Grant Holt was a constant threat and dogged the Chelsea defence throughtout the game. Even when Chelsea were controlling large passages of play in the second half, Norwich continued to close space when defending crucial areas of the pitch.
Chelsea’s continued struggle to find a consistent form stems mainly in the approach towards matches. It has been a frustrating season for fans especially with never knowing what kind of Chelsea will turn up, but patience is a virtue as they, and with the current patient passing style adopted by Chelsea so far, fans must also be patient with the team before we can start taking games for granted and expecting a guaranteed win.