Chelsea will be aiming to return to winning ways when they lock horns with Norwich City at Stamford Bridge this midweek.
As the race for the top four heats up in the 2019/20 Premier League, Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing display this past weekend, when they play hosts to the relegated Norwich City on Tuesday night.
Frank Lampard’s Blues have been living a dangerous life of late with respect to the top four race. A 3-0 defeat to Sheffield United this past weekend put them in a difficult position, although Leicester City and Manchester United’s inability to capitalise on the slip-up meant they held on to third place in the table.
Norwich City had their relegation to the Championship confirmed after a 4-0 hammering at the hands of West Ham United last time out. While the Canaries did show promise upon their return to the top-flight early in the campaign, they could never put together a run of positive results. Daniel Farke’s men will now be playing the final three games for pride.
The reverse fixture, played at Carrow Road, was an entertaining affair as Chelsea beat Norwich 3-2, with Tammy Abraham (2) and Mason Mount scoring while Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell got on the scoresheet for the hosts. Ahead of their latest meeting this Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Chelsea will once again be without midfielders N’Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour, while Fikayo Tomori also remains unavailable due to injury. Andreas Christensen has recovered from a minor ankle problem and should be available for selection on Tuesday.
Lampard will make changes to the side that was hammered by Sheffield United this past weekend. Kepa Arrizabalaga has hardly been convincing in goal of late, but is likely to be stuck with for the game. Reece James endured a difficult game last time out and could be given a breather, with Cesar Azpilicueta moving to right-back, while Marcos Alonso starts on the left.
Christensen endured a torrid outing against Sheffield United and is unlikely to start on Tuesday. And while Antonio Rudiger didn’t fare all too better, he is likely to start at the heart of the Chelsea defence alongside Kurt Zouma.
Jorginho is a certain starter at the base of the three-man midfield due to the unavailability of Kante and Gilmour. Ross Barkley has been in decent form of late and should be retained, but Mason Mount is set to face the axe, with Mateo Kovacic expected to replace him.
Willian and Christian Pulisic have been Lampard’s preferred players on the flanks. And while he will be tempted to use Callum Hudson-Odoi against a lowly Norwich side, given how close the top-four battle is, he is unlikely to take a risk. Tammy Abraham had a poor outing last time out and should make way for Olivier Giroud as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Giroud, Pulisic
The already-relegated Canaries will have to make do without the services of Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley, Sam Byram and Moritz Leitner. There are no other injury problems that Daniel Farke has to deal with, although he might look to provide some youngsters with an opportunity in their final days in the Premier League.
In goal, there is no looking past seasoned campaigner Tim Krul. Max Aarons, who has been linked with Arsenal, ought to continue at right-back, while Jamal Lewis should continue on the left. Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose are the only available options at centre-back and should feature on Tuesday.
Kenny McLean should come into the side in the midfield double pivot. He is likely to partner captain Alexander Tettey, with Mario Vrancic dropping out of the starting XI. Ondrej Duda could come into the side in place of Marco Stiepermann, starting in the No. 10 role for the visitors.
Todd Cantwell was left out of the starting XI, but should feature against Chelsea, slotting in on the left, while Emiliano Buendia should get the nod on the right. Youngster Josh Martin could get some minutes from the bench, like he did in the previous game.
Teemu Pukki hasn’t scored in his last 11 Premier League matches, going 780 minutes without a strike. He could be benched on Tuesday, with Josip Drmic likely to get the nod, although. 19-year-old Adam Idah is also an option at Farke’s disposal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Klose, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey, McLean; Buendia, Duda, Cantwell; Drmic
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 meetings with Norwich City in all competitions (W11 D5). Their last defeat to the Canaries came in December 1994.
- After winning their first two Premier League away games against Chelsea (Sep 1992 and Oct 1993), Norwich are without a victory in their last six visits to Stamford Bridge (D1 L5).
- Chelsea have won their last four Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge, scoring at least twice in each victory. The Blues last won five in a row at home in the Permier League in December 2017, during a seven-game winning run under Antonio Conte.
- This is the sixth time a side is facing in their first Premier League game following relegation – Chelsea have won all previous five fixtures, most recently against Cardiff City in 2013-14.
- Norwich City have lost 24 Premier League games this season – they have never lost more in a league game in their history.
Player to Watch
The 31-year-old winger has been dominating the headlines of late due to his contract situations. However, Willian hasn’t let that affect his performances, with the Brazilian emerging as one of Chelsea’s best player since the season resumed last month.
In 34 Premier League matches this term, Willian has scored nine goals and assisted seven more. Four of those goals have come since the restart in June. He has found the back of the net in each of his last three league games at Stamford Bridge. He will once again need to step up and deliver the goods, if Chelsea are to return to winning ways.
Chelsea 3-0 Norwich City
Chelsea come into the game on the back of a demoralizing performance against Sheffield United. However, going up against a Norwich City side that has lost all of their previous eight matches across all competitions, they should be able to bounce back to winning ways and put themselves in a strong position to finish in the top four.