Chelsea prove too good for lowly Canaries

17:35 06 October 2012

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic (centre) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal against Norwich with Fernando Torres and Juan Mata. Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA wire

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic (centre) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal against Norwich with Fernando Torres and Juan Mata. Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Premier League: Chelsea 4 Norwich 1

Chelsea remain top of the Premier League after a regulation 4-1 win at Stamford Bridge against a very poor Norwich City side.

The visitors, who haven’t won a league game all season, had the audacity to actually take the lead through hitman Grant Holt. But Chelsea responded with clinical efficiency with three first half strikes from Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard.

The second half was very much a display of the mercurial talents of Oscar, Juan Mata and Hazard and the fourth goal came from the boot of Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Torres had an excellent chance to open the scoring on three minutes when he beat the City offside trap and raced into the penalty area following a long pass by Lampard.

However the Spain striker could not deliver the finish, instead checking back and allowing Leon Barnett to close him down.

Despite almost total possession by the home side, Norwich failed to read the script and opened the scoring.

A left-footed cross by Wesley Hoolahan to Petr Cech’s far post saw the ball headed back to the edge of the Chelsea area by Elliot Bennett and up popped skipper Holt to arrow a perfect drive under the lunging John Terry and Cech.

But normal service was resumed three minutes later when a back heel by Mata on the right edge of the visitors’ penalty area fed in-running Ivanovic. The full-back sent in the perfect cross to Torres, who made up for his earlier fluff by dispatching a powerful header past John Ruddy from 10 yards out.

The Canaries almost restored the lead on 18 minutes when yet again impressive Hoolahan curled a cross on to the head of unmarked Alexander Tettey, but the midfielder, instead of heading home from close range, screwed the effort wide.

Stalwart Lampard decided to take the untidy game by the scruff of the neck, and dispatched a trademark right-footer on 22 minutes past Ruddy – his 189th Chelsea career goal - after an attempted overhead kick by Torres was blocked.

This Chelsea side is an emerging one, with a distinct counter-attacking flair.

Nowhere was this more evident than on 31 minutes, when Mata collected the ball midway in his own half.

The livewire Spain midfielder raced 40 yards forward, deep into enemy territory, all the time looking for support.

That came in the form of Hazard who accelerated clear on the left. Mata produced an inch-perfect ball, bisecting the Norwich defence which Hazard latched onto, just inside their penalty area and coolly dispatched a low shot past the hapless Ruddy to extend the home side’s lead.

Whenever the ball came close to Holt - which wasn’t often - he still posed a threat. Two minutes before the break he almost headed his side back into the game from eight yards out, but the ball inched the wrong side of Cech’s upright.

An early second half shout from the majority of the 41,784 crowd for a penalty for a foul on Hazard by Barnett was turned down by referee Anthony Taylor as Chelsea turned the screw again. Ruddy then produced a fine diving save from an Oscar long-range effort just after the hour mark.

The Blues decided to change Lampard for Ramires on 67 minutes, with Norwich responding by replacing Bradley Johnson for Anthony Pilkington in their desperate search of goals.

Torres should have punished Norwich’s sloppy defending with 15 minutes remaining, when he latched onto a fine Hazard through ball. But Ruddy was quick to spot the chance and managed to snuff out his shot.

But the inevitable happened two minutes later. A deep cross-field ball from the left by Oscar was somewhat fortunately back heeled on by Mata and Ivanovic dispatched with consummate ease, leaving Ruddy with no chance.

Ivanovic was then promptly replaced by Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo for Spain right-back Cesar Azpilicueta for his league debut.

Another Spain player, Oriol Romeu, entered the fray on 82 minutes with Mikel, on his 250th appearance for Chelsea, making way.

Romeu was quickly in the action and saw a 25-yarder zip past the Norwich goal.

And then, two minutes later, his snap header flashed wide of the same right post.

The game fizzled out with the points decided. Chelsea go into the international break safe in the knowledge they are the team to topple, while Norwich will be looking to use the time productively as their season hurtles towards a battle against relegation.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Torres, Mata,Oscar, Mikel, Hazard, Terry

Subs-Turnbull, Romeu, Ramires, Moses, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Johnson, Bassong, Howson, Holt, Hoolahan, Bennett, Garrido, Barnett, Tettey

Subs - Bunn, Turner, Snodgrass, Jackson, Pilkington, Morison, Bennett

Related articles


Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 14:34

Spurs played out their second goalless draw in the space of five days after a 0-0 tie against Bournemouth on the south coast. Here are five talking points.

Fri, 16:00

Spencer McCall is immediately targeting a new objective – avenging Hendon’s opening day defeat to Worthing – after their FA Cup dreams evaporated at Boreham Wood.

Fri, 07:00

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche has set his side the target of joining club hockey’s European elite after emerging as the league’s surprise package this season.

Thu, 22:30

Mauricio Pochettino says he is happy with Dele Alli’s goal return and insists the midfielder should not be expected to score as regularly as a striker.

Thu, 14:16

Mauricio Pochettino feels summer signing Vincent Janssen might be putting too much pressure on himself as he bids to end his dry run in front of goal, and the Tottenham manager says the Dutchman simply needs some encouragement and patience.

Thu, 12:00

A fixture between Toulon and Saracens is always billed as a blockbuster – and Saturday’s pool three Champions Cup opener certainly lived up to the pre-game excitement.

Wed, 21:51

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wed, 17:00

Hendon boss Gary McCann admits he is “embarrassed” by Hendon’s lowly league placing – but he expects it to change as players return from injury and suspension.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now