Chelsea FC were held to a frustrating draw by Norwich City at home, a result which virtually ended their title hopes.
The London club have now won only one of their last five matches in all competitions – a run of results which has knocked them out of the Champions League and the title race. Moreover they are now winless in their last three matches at home – something of a surprise with someone like Jose Mourinho at the helm. The draw also didn’t help Norwich’s cause and if Sunderland manage a draw against West Brom in their next game, it will confirm Norwich’s relegation. Both the teams were desperate for three points, but for different reasons and in the end, neither managed to produce enough quality to win it.
After all the headlines in the papers, Jose Mourinho dropped Eden Hazard to the bench for this game – surprisingly so as a win in this game would have put them at the top of the league – and a Hazard less Chelsea struggled to create too many opportunities in the first half of the match. Andre Schurrle came the closest as he hit the right post from a shot in the 32nd minute of the game. Norwich were also denied a penalty claim in the first half when Martin Olsson was brought down in the box by John Terry.
Mourinho brought on Hazard and David Luiz at the start of the second half and the duo made an instant impact on the match. Luiz came close to the scoring in the 48th minute as he struck the cross bar with a lovely effort. Hazard’s arrival upped the tempo in the final third and Chelsea looked more threatening. But Norwich defended with their lives and made it hard for the home side to score past them. In fact it was the away side who could have taken the lead had Robert Snodgrass taken the opportunity that came his way in the 71st minute. The match ended 0-0 and both the teams left frustrated with the result.
Ironically Jose Mourinho criticized Norwich’s tactics in the match, despite in need of three points to avoid relegation, which insisted that his team only needed a draw from this game to confirm their third spot in the table.
“We had one team that needed three points to have a chance to survive, and they didn’t play to win.
“You had a team that needs one point to finish third, and in the Champions League group phase, and that team played like the one needing three points so it was a bit of a contradiction.
“(Their gameplan) surprised me but anyone plays like they want. It’s not my responsibility, it is their responsibility.
“We were waiting for a kind of crazy game, especially in the second half, where they would gamble everything to try for a last chance to survive, but they didn’t. Even worse – they defended much more but that’s their problem. We have not a right to criticise.
“I think we lost 45 minutes because in the first half we were very slow. Like the weather, players were playing very slow with no intensity.
“In the second half the intensity was completely different, the dynamic too. The players they wanted it much, much more and we tried everything.
“We know we have no chances to be champions and we know we need one point to finish in the group phase of the Champions League, which obviously is not a cup for us but affects the next season. It affects pre-season and it was important for us to finish third.” – The Chelsea manager said in his post-match interview.