Chelsea won a hard fought battle against a driven Norwich City. The Blues won 2-1 at Carrow Road.
Chelsea could hardly have had a better start to their visit at Carrow Road when Kenedy thrashed in a cross from Hazard within the first minute of the game – the fastest in the Premier League this season at 41 seconds of game play (0-1). The momentum continued with Chelsea threatening once again at 5 minutes, Hazard driving a ball into the box in a powerful cross to Traore who just couldn’t get to it in time. However, the Blues showed desire in the early stages.
13 minutes in and things were not looking good for the Canaries who had just received their first yellow card of the evening – Howson for a late tackle on Oscar. However, despite this Norwich showed intent and decided to fight back. Jerome headed a cross just over the bar despite being in a lot of space. At 19 minutes the Canaries missed out on another chance due to being ruled offside. Finding their feet defensively the Blues decided to slow things down at the twenty minute mark, however Traore and Kenedy were clearly itching to move forward charging toward the Norwich defence and rarely losing the ball.
Despite the Chelsea’s best efforts to bring the pace of the game to where they were comfortable Norwich were winning the battle in midfield thanks to the Hoolahan and Tettey who took advantage of the space provided to them by Chelsea. Tettey managed to take a weak shot at goal, which went out in the 29th minute. Less than 2 minutes later Chelsea get a free kick in midfield after Hazard was taken down by Bennett from behind. 5 minutes later Fabregas attempted a header towards goal off of another free kick. Hazard worked yet more magic in midfield and set up Traore, who was through on goal. However, in his only bad touch of the first half Traore loses control of the ball which falls straight to Ruddy.
In the closing embers of the first half Norwich were clearly getting flustered, Bennett gets a yellow card for a foul on Hazard, Fabregas takes the resulting free kick which flies over the wall and towards the far post. Ivanovic couldn’t get to it, so Ruddy makes the save. Shortly after the game gots scrappy and Oscar gets booked for a tackle on Howson. Just before the whistle goes for half-time Costa scores a goal from an off-side pass from Traore – the Canaries were clearly incited and complained to the referee as the half-time whistle blew (0-2).
Soon after half time the Canaries got another chance on goal. Once again Jerome took the shot but this time it went wide. Minutes later Redmond takes a shot at goal just as the referee blows his whistle to inspect Kenedy who had been injured during the Norwich attack, however, the Brazilian brushed off his injuries and continued to play.
At 60 minutes Jerome had yet another chance to score. Brady sends a high cross into the area but Jerome headed it over. Chelsea were looking and certainly playing comfortably with 30 minutes to go. However comfort turns into complacency and Norwich begin to hammer at Chelsea’s goal, eventually they convert with Redmond smashing a shot past Courtois (1-2). Fabregas who seemed to wither in the second half then gets a yellow card for a rash challenge.
Late in the second half there is drama as O’Neill and Brady clash heads accidentally. Willian also went down. All received medical treatment. In the last 5 minutes of the game both teams began to once again pick up the pace. Fabregas sprang back to life to send a low ball past several Norwich defenders and into the path of Costa, who was unfortunately ruled offside. Norwich took advantage on the counter-attack. Redmond gots a shot away after beating Matic and Baba Rahman but he hit the side netting. Costa and Fabregas linked up again but this time Fabregas is offside. As the game closed Norwich continued their brave counter attacks. In the 94th minute Courtois is forced to save a point blank shot from Martin – less than a minute later the final whistle is blown.
Norwich City 1 Chelsea 2 FT.
NORWICH – Ruddy, Bennett, Martin, Klose, Pinto, Tettey, Howson, Brady, Redmond, Hoolahan, Jerome
Subs: Rudd, Olsson, O’Neil, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Jarvis, Mbokani.
Manager: Alex Neil
CHELSEA – Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic (c), Kenedy, Fabregas, Matic, Hazard, Oscar, Traore, Diego Costa.
Subs: Begovic, Baba Rahman, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Pato, Remy
Manager: Guus Hiddink
Scorers: 1′ – Kennedy, 45′ – Diego Costa, 68′ – Nathan Redmond
Yellow Cards: 13′ – J Howson, 39′ – R Bennett, 44′ – Oscar, 73′ – C Fabregas, 76′ – T Klose
Referee: L. Mason
Venue: Carrow Road, Norwich, UK
7.45 pm GMT