Date: Thursday 10th March 2022
Venue: Carrow Road
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Clubs like Sp*rs might be much more accustomed to playing on Thursday nights but it’s not channel 5 and it’s not the Europa League. For us tonight, it’s the Premier League and a trip to Carrow Road to play Norwich City.
We’ve won our last three games and go into this game third in the table, five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand. After expecting a battle against Burnley at the weekend and a point if we were lucky, the return of Reece James and a probable rocket up some backsides at half-time, we came out a different side and had the game won within 10 minutes of the break, rounding it off after 70 minutes to finish 4-0.
We battered Norwich 7-0 in the reverse fixture in October but even with a decent game behind us and the Canaries on a five-game losing streak, I still wouldn’t expect the same sort of goal-fest this time around. We’re unlikely to have Reece James tonight which was probably to be expected after Burnley looked intent on making his return a short one and with the fixtures again being shoe-horned in, we’d be expecting some changes.
Norwich have just 17 points after 27 games and will be sore after the defeat to Brentford last time out left them five points adrift of safety, so I’d expect some sort of reaction from them tonight rather than them rolling over for us again.
Going into today’s game, Norwich manager Dean Smith, says “It is a tough game because it is the European and World Champions, who are playing very well and who are very well coached and have got very good players. It is a tough game, but it is one where we need to take some points.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “We want to stay where we are at least and take what we can get from the guys above us. Man City and Liverpool show that they produce these kind of results consistently throughout every month. They don’t drop in performance and results wise. They don’t drop in certain months or certain periods. I think the Covid situation in certain moments and the injury situation caught us and had a huge influence on our points but it’s not isolated. I agree with you that we get better and better in the moment, we get our form back and play a bit more fluent, active, more lively. Again, more and more attractive and nicer to watch. We can feel the group stronger and stronger. This is how we got the results. This is the good news. We managed before to get results, which was good to overcome a period – what other teams also do. This is pretty much it, of course we try to win the game [Thursday]. We have respect, it’s an away game in Premier League. If you look at our schedule, the next four matches come within the shortest time – we need to be spot on.”
Reflecting on the reverse fixture, Tuchel says “This is exceptional, it happens once a season (winning 7-0). Would be a big mistake to draw any conclusions from this game. We did not use it in preparation, we will not use it. We analyse the last matches from Norwich. They have a new coach. They have a new style in defending and approaching the game. A lot has changed. This should not affect our minds. This is absolutely clear. Very important to consistently forget too much praise and stay humble, keep on going again, again and again in this kind of league. This is what the two top club, two top teams show since years. This is where we want to join. If we want to join, of course, they are the underdogs. They have nothing to lose, these are these kinds of situations. We handle these very well, we know what it takes. It is on us to deliver.”
For Norwich, Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah are both long-term absentees. Lukas Rupp and Max Aarons are available, but Billy Gilmour is ineligible to face us.
For Chelsea, Ben Chilwell (knee), remains our long-term absentee, and Reece James (muscular) is a major doubt, whilst Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso (covid) may be absent again.
NORWICH (Possible line-up): Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Zimmermann, Williams; Lees-Melou, Rupp; Sargent, Dowell, Rowe; Pukki
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Chalobah, T Silva, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, Jorginho, Saul; Havertz, Lukaku, Werner
CURRENT FORM (PL)
- Norwich are without a win in 18 meetings in all competitions since 1994.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 league games against Norwich.
- Chelsea won the reverse fixture 7-0 in October 2021
- Norwich have lost their last five games in all competitions.
- Chelsea have won eight of their past nine games in all competitions, and would have won all nine if the officials judged all onsides the same.
- Norwich have only scored nine Premier League home goals this season.
- Chelsea have kept eight away clean sheets this season.
Sportsmole: Norwich 0-2 Chelsea