Stamford Bridge, London
Saturday, November 21st; 1500 GMT
Perhaps signifying the Blues’ start to the season, visitors Norwich City are placed above them in the table only having accrued a point more than them in the 12 games so far. The Canaries make the trip down southwest to take on a beleaguered Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge. Even though they were crowned champions not more than six months ago, the Blues are now facing the very real possibility of finishing outside the top four.
For Chelsea fans, the wait for a a turning pointa has been getting too long. There has been no momentum to speak of this season and with its playersa inexplicable drop in form from last season, they cannot catch a break. Three consecutive League losses and the title defence surely over, Chelsea will look to start a run of games with good results and look to build from there. Jose Mourinhoa s job looks safe for now, but the trophy-hungry owner and fans will be baying for blood if this run continues.
Norwich City have also had a stop-start season so far, with some good performances not resulting in points. They were on the end of a 6-2 hammering at Newcastle but produced a splendid performance against Manchester City only to leave empty handed. A victory against Swansea in the last round of matches was their first in six games a losing the other four and drawing one. Survival is clearly their aim this season and any point away from home will be a bonus for them. With Chelsea also struggling at home, this is perhaps their best chance to inflict more misery on the defending champions.
Team news and tactics
The home side have Branislav Ivanovic and Radamel Falcao back in contention after their respective injury concerns. Thibaut Courtois is the only long-term absentee at the moment for the Blues.
Chelsea will be expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Nemanja Matic and Ramires expected to sit in front of the defence. The right side of the back four might see the return of Ivanovic with Cesar Azpilicueta shifting to the left-back role. The much-criticized Serb could be a welcome return to the defence seeing how Kurt Zouma struggled to adapt in the right-back role. The Frenchman, however, could slot in next to John Terry in the middle of defence.
Diego Costa a albeit out of touch and form a will be expected to start up front with Willian, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas supporting him from midfield. Mourinho is known for his unpredictable team selections, which could also mean Oscar could start in place of Fabregas in the head of the midfield.
Whatever team he decides to go with, this is a must-win game for the Portuguese. Back on the touchline after his antics at West Ham resulting in a ban, he will be hoping for luck to go their way and they fight their way to a victory.
Nathan Redmond is expected to be fit to start this game after missing out against Swansea. The England under-21 international had complained of a thigh problem and was rested as precaution during the international break. Russell Martin is also available after serving his suspension.
Norwich will be expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Alex Tettey expected to slot into the defensive midfield role. Jonny Howson will partner him in that area but could be expected to play much further forward than the Norwegian. With their top goalscorer a Redmond a back after injury, their aim will be look to break Chelsea on the counter-attack. The entire Chelsea defence has been off-form this season and with the pace of Cameron Jerome leading them up-top, the Canaries could give the fans yet another reason to go back home disappointed.
Manager Alex Neil always knew that life in the Premier League would be difficult after a playoff victory last season resulting in a promotion. They have been good to watch at times, but not producing enough points could lead to their downfall. One of the contenders for the relegation fight, they will do well to get anything a if not all three points a from this match.
Player to watch out for
The Brazilian has been Chelseaa s best player by far this season and could be the key to them getting the three points this game. Perhaps the sharpest free-kick taker in the League right now, Willian has long been the underrated workhorse. He is only now starting to show his utility in helping lead the teama s attack.
- Norwich Citya s last victory at Stamford Bridge came back in December 1994
- Chelsea have lost three league matches in a row for the first time since 1999.
- Norwich have won none of their last 8 matches against Chelsea, losing 6 of them
- Chelsea have dropped eight points from winning positions this season, joint-highest with rock-bottom Aston Villa.
Chelsea 1 a 1 Norwich
Although this is touted to be a must-win game for Chelsea, the visitors are capable of heaping more misery on them. A point may not be bad for Chelsea, it definitely wont be enough to satisfy the crowd and more importantly, their owner.