Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham made the difference as Chelsea got their first win of the season, beating Norwich City 3-2 at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Chelsea were made to work hard for their first win of the season, with Norwich City impressing in defeat. The Blues quickly grabbed the lead, with Tammy Abraham putting his side in front just three minutes in, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner after being found by Cesar Azpilicueta.
But, Norwich brought the game back to level terms almost instantly, wit Todd Cantwell finishing from point-blank range after a neat exchange with Teemu Pukki. The West Londoners though, led once again ten minutes later, as Mason Mount showed some clever footwork after being found by Christian Pulisic, before finishing past Tim Krul in thumping fashion.
By now, the game was well on its way towards becoming a goal-fest, and Norwich ensured that when they equalised for a second time. At the half hour mark, Pukki scored his fifth goal of the season after being put through on goal by Emiliano Buendia’s fine pass.
The tempo of the game slowed down in the second half, which helped Chelsea dominate the proceedings. And, the visitors deservedly produced the decisive moment in the 68th minute, with Abraham finding the back of the net for a second time in the game at the end of a fine run and a driven finish.
Chelsea held on to their slender advantage for the final 22 minutes or so to clinch their first win of the Frank Lampard era. And, with his young squad impressing against Norwich on Saturday, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over the Blues’ 14 players on the day.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 5/10
In our preview of the game, we had iterated how Kepa’s performance will hold the key for Chelsea. And, the fact that the Spaniard wasn’t quite at his best meant that the game ended up being too close for comfort for Lampard’s men. Kepa made two errors in the game, one of which proved to be decisive, as Pukki scored past with ease from an acute angle. Otherwise had precious little to do.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
A much-improved display from the Chelsea captain, who was much more reliable going forward on Saturday. It was his probing cross that found a free Tammy Abraham, who netted the opener and his delivery caused problems all afternoon. Troubled by Todd Cantwell at times in the first half, but had the young winger’s measure post the break.
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
A mixed bag of a performance by Christensen, who struggled against the threat of Teemu Pukki in the early exchanges. Much more assured in the final hour of the game and would have been left bewildered as to how he didn’t score from his powerfully struck header.
Kurt Zouma: 5.5/10
Another game, another outing wherein Zouma could have done better. At fault for the moment when Pukki went through on goal to score his fifth goal of the season, as the Frenchman was caught out of position. Kept things simple on the ball, but nervy off it at times, a tendency he needs to curb, especially with Antonio Rudiger returning soon.
Emerson Palmieri: 7/10
Another excellent performance by Emerson, even though there are some major defensive issues that need to be addressed. Buendia had a lot of joy in behind the full-back. But, on the other end, Emerson was a constant threat, creating the second-most chances on the day (4), while also putting in the most crosses (6). Will hope to improve at the back hereon out.
Emerson’s game by numbers vs. Norwich:
• Most touches (99)
• Most tackles (7)
• Most crosses (6)
• 2nd-most chances created (4)
The left-back won 88.2% of his duels. pic.twitter.com/nvLt2kMk7P
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 24, 2019
Ross Barkley: 6/10
A late addition to the team after Pedro picked up an injury during warm-up. Barkley looked like a man on a mission, a mission to break his duck for the season. But, that also meant that the English midfielder tried to take aim at goal from all sorts of position, which wasn’t ideal at times. Looked good when he decided to pass the ball, making the most key passes in the game (5).
Apart from a couple of hairy moments at the back, Jorginho was promising in his display. Put in the hard yards defensively, although he was culpable when he let Buendia get the better of him in the lead-up to Norwich’s opening goal. On the ball, there was little to fault the Italian international, who pulled the strings effortlessly and linked up well with those ahead of him.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
An industrious performance by Kovacic, who was all over the pitch against Norwich. His numbers are nothing short of impressive, with the Croat completing four tackles while also making two key passes. One of these key passes saw him provide the assist for the winner, setting Abraham up for his second goal of the game. A step in the right direction.
Christian Pulisic: 6.5/10
A game of hits and misses for Pulisic, who created Chelsea’s second goal by providing the assist to Mount. Should have found the back of the net himself and would have been disappointed for missing his effort. Flitted in and out of the game otherwise, as he continues to adapt to his new surroundings.
Mason Mount: 8/10
The late change to the team meant that Mount saw his position being shuffled as well. Instead of starting behind Tammy Abraham, the Englishman found himself being deployed on the left side of the Chelsea attack.
But, he took to the change with positive attitude, capping another positive showing with a goal, his second of the season. The first touch for the goal was simply exquisite, with Mount taking the entire Norwich defence out of the picture with it before beating Tim Krul with a driven finish. Has the tendency to pick the wrong pass at times, a habit he will surely address moving forward.
Tammy Abraham: 9/10
Much of the talk this season, when it comes to Abraham, has been about how he needs to be instilled with confidence, especially after missing his penalty in the UEFA Super Cup shootout. And a start against Norwich was a message from Lampard that he was ready to back the young striker.
The confidence seems to be starting to seep through, with Abraham producing two absolutely top class finishes to begin his scoring tally for Chelsea. While the first was delicately caressed into the bottom corner, the second was a thunderous finish that would have boosted his confidence further.
Needs to get involved more when he does not have the ball, though. Nevertheless, a strong outing, which is a step in the right direction. Abraham has now scored 28 league goals (including play-offs) since the start of last season, the most by any English player in the top two tiers of English football in that time.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
Thrown on for a tiring Abraham with 15 minutes left, Giroud was not involved much but was contentiously penalised by VAR in a moment that saw Zouma being denied a goal late on.
On the pitch for around 10 minutes, Willian continued regaining sharpness but barely featured.
Marcos Alonso: N/A
A late substitution for a tiring and cramping Mount.