Chelsea will continue the search of their first win of the season when they pay a visit to Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon.
The 2019-20 Premier League season continues with Gameweek 3 this weekend. Some teams look well settled already while others are only starting to hit their stride. One of the ‘Big Six’ clubs, Chelsea fall into the second category, with the Blues desperately seeking their first win of their campaign; their search continues when they take on Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Norwich have been mighty impressive upon their return to the top-flight. The Canaries first raised an eyebrow when they took the game to Liverpool in their season opening 4-1 defeat. And, their free flowing style of football got Daniel Farke & co. tangible dividends, as they cruised to a 3-1 win over Newcastle United last weekend.
In particular, it is Teemu Pukki who has looked deadly in front of goal and Chelsea will need to be wary of the threat the Finn poses in the final third. As far as the Blues themselves are concerned, they are looking for such a form of inspiration themselves, having looked inefficient going forward so far.
In the three games that they have played so far this season, Chelsea have managed to find the back of the net just thrice while amassing just a solitary point in a couple of Premier League games. As a promising run of games begins against Norwich, Frank Lampard will hope to put an end to his side’s blues, with Farke’s men looking vulnerable at the back.
The last Premier League clash featuring Norwich and Chelsea at Carrow Road ended in a 2-1 win for the visitors, with Kenedy and Diego Costa coming up with the goods. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Daniel Farke has been greeted with both good and bad news and will be missing a few key players this week. Ahead of the visit of Chelsea on Saturday, the Norwich City boss is set to be without as many as five first-team players.
The positive news is that Timm Klose is in contention to make his first appearance of the season, while Jamal Lewis has shrugged off a minor injury to make himself available as well. Onto the bad news, and Onel Hernandez is set to be out for the next three months after undergoing knee surgery.
But, Christoph Zimmermann is closing in on his return, which will be a huge boost for Farke, who has seen his defenders struggle so far this season. For now, Klose will be the defensive leader for Norwich, coming into the side in place of Grant Hanley to partner Ben Godfrey at the heart of the backline.
Lewis should continue as the left-back seeing as he is fit and available, with Max Aarons being deployed on the opposite flank. Tim Krul will be the man in goal for the hosts and is likely to be a busy man in goal against Chelsea. Up ahead in midfield, Tom Trybull will likely have Moritz Leitner for company in the double pivot, with the latter usurping Kenny McLean and Mario Vrancic.
The attack though, will hold the key for Norwich, with Teemu Pukki the man under the spotlight once again. The Finnish international will need a good support system, however, and Todd Cantwell, who grabbed two assists last weekend, will share the creative responsibilities with Marco Stiepermann and Emiliano Buendia.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Klose, Godfrey, Lewis; Leitner, Trybull; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki
Frank Lampard will be sweating over the fitness of N’Golo Kante, who has picked up a fresh injury concern ahead of the trip to Norwich. On Saturday, the Chelsea manager could be without as many as five first-team players.
Kante is struggling with an ankle sprain that has bothered him all week and will need a late fitness test to determine his availability. Apart from the Frenchman, Chelsea will be without the services of Antonio Rudiger (knee), Reece James (foot), Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi (both Achilles).
Rudiger is inching closer to his return after featuring for Chelsea Under-23 in Premier League 2 this week, but until he does, Kurt Zouma will continue to feature alongside Andreas Christensen in the Blues’ central defensive partnership.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta too, remains unchallenged till James is fully fit, although he will hope to improve after a sub-par start to the season. On the opposite flank, Emerson Palmieri has nailed down a place for himself following an impressive start to the season. The defensive line will guard Kepa Arrizabalaga, who will hope to be the first man to keep Teemu Pukki at bay this season.
Kante’s struggles with his injury means it is likely that Jorginho will be partnered by Mateo Kovacic in the midfield double pivot, with Kante being a second half substitute at best. Onto the attack, and Lampard will hope his players finally start pulling their weight in the final third, having been uninspiring thus far to say the least.
Mason Mount is the only forward to have impressed despite being thrown into the deep end in his first season with the Chelsea first-team. Mount will continue in the hole behind the striker, who should be Olivier Giroud, owing to his strong hold-up play.
Giroud though, needs to be more clinical in front of goal, with Chelsea in desperate need of goals. Christian Pulisic and Pedro ought to be the two wide men, with Willian being the backup option on the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho; Pedro, Mount, Pulisic; Giroud
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.53
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
1. Norwich Draw No Bet @ 3.25
- Chelsea are on a 15-match unbeaten run against Norwich in all competitions, avoiding defeat in their seven trips to Carrow Road during this period (W4 D3).
- Chelsea have gone four Premier League away matches without a victory, failing to score in three of them (D2 L2). They last endured a longer winless streak on the road between September and December 2015, when drawing three games and losing four.
- Norwich have only beaten a ‘Big Six’ opponent once in their past 15 attempts at home in the Premier League (D4 L10).
- Frank Lampard is looking to avoid becoming the first Chelsea manager since Bobby Campbell in 1988 to fail to win any of his first four competitive games in charge.
- Teemu Pukki has scored four goals in two Premier League games. Only 9 players have scored in each of their first three Premier League games and if Pukki does so, he will equal or better Pavel Pogrebnyak’s record of scoring five goals in his first three Premier League outings.
Player to Watch
With a leaky defence in front of him, Kepa Arrizabalaga is in a position that his compatriot David de Gea has found himself in for years. The Spaniard needs to play out of his skin on most weeks to even harbour hopes of keeping a clean sheet, with both Manchester United and Leicester City bullying Chelsea a lot.
Over the course of his debut season with Chelsea, Kepa displayed his fantastic shot stopping abilities, and if he manages to take a cue from de Gea, a memorable season could be in the offing. With a rampant Teemu Pukki expected to terrorize the visiting defence, it will be up to Kepa to ensure Frank Lampard & co. go back home with three points.
Norwich City 2-2 Chelsea
As had been the case against Manchester United, the Chelsea defence switched off in the second half when Leicester City visited them last week. In fact, for much of the second period, the Foxes ran riot in and around the Chelsea box, with only their profligacy costing Brendan Rodgers’s men all three points.
Norwich City though, are much more clinical, as Frank Lampard would know quite well from his time with Derby County. Teemu Pukki is a man in form and after grabbing a hat-trick last weekend, the Finnish hit-man will be hungry for more.
Expect another goal fest involving Daniel Farke and Frank Lampard’s sides, with the vulnerabilities of the two defensive units giving the neutrals an entertaining encounter. The absence of N’Golo Kante could be damning and will determine the result greatly. The Hard Tackle predicts Chelsea and Norwich to share the spoils at the end of a 2-2 draw.