Two sides at opposite ends of the Premier League form table meet in East Anglia as Norwich City aim to end a run of seven games without a win against Chelsea, who have not any of their last 14 domestic matches.
Clean sheets have proved exceptionally hard to come by for Norwich, and they were just minutes away from earning the one they set out to achieve at Leicester City on Saturday, limiting the leaders to half-chances right up until they were undone by a dangerous cross just a minute from the end of normal time. It was a harsh defeat on the balance of play, and one which ensures that goal difference remains the only thing keeping them out of the drop zone.
If they can keep things tight defensively as they did right until the late stages at Leicester with a back three, then the Canaries are well capable of taking something from this one, even amid what will inevitably be a stern examination from a Chelsea side that is clearly playing with a lot of confidence in attack. But at the other end, they must take their chances when they come their way, with Cameron Jerome especially culpable at the King Power Stadium.
The win that Chelsea collected at Southampton was among the most impressive of Guus Hiddink’s second spell at the club thus far as they overcame a tricky first half and a one-goal deficit to claim all three points, ending their opponents’ long run without conceding a goal in the process. It was a result that moved them on to 36 points, not too far away from a place in the top six. On current form, it is hard to bet against them fulfilling that objective.
From seeing their recent outings it is clear that Blues are being boosted by Cesc Fabregas regaining his influence in the midfield, with the Spaniard having returned to something fairly close to his excellent form of last season. The way he has been dictating the play has allowed those in front of him to be more effective and play with more freedom, and if he continues to drive his side forward here it could turn out be a very long evening for the hosts.
Sebastian Bassong and Wes Hoolahan are both doubtful for Norwich after missing the game at Leicester due to injury. Andre Wisdom is set to miss out again.
Chelsea will be unable to call upon Pedro Rodriguez after he was forced off at Southampton, while captain John Terry is unlikely to return from a muscle injury in time to feature.
Last Meeting: Two late goals saw Chelsea overcome a plucky Norwich side in October 2013 as Jose Mourinho got the first away league win of his second spell in charge. Oscar gave them the lead early on after being set up by Demba Ba, but the home side fought back well an equalised midway through the second half thanks to Anthony Pilkington’s deflected header. Eden Hazard put Chelsea back in front with just five minutes left, with Willian sealing it with a superb curling shot moments later.
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