A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s away trip to Norwich City.
Matchday 3 of this season’s Premier League sees Chelsea back on the road with a trip to East Anglia as they face newly promoted Norwich City in a match that, at first glance, should provide The Blues with their first win of the season.
However, The Canaries swept all aside last season as they marched to win The Championship. They scored a Football League high of 93 goals and only lost 6 matches in an extremely tough 46 match league season.
Under the stewardship of manager Daniel Farke they have become a confident, energetic team, more than admirably led by their striker Teemu Pukki. The Finn was last season’s top goal scorer and has already bagged himself 4 Premier League goals this term.
Having been dealt an unpleasant opening fixture away to Liverpool, Norwich bounced back in style last weekend with a home victory over Newcastle United. With the belief and pace they possess, this will be a tough trip for The Blues.
Frank Lampard is as familiar with this weekend’s opponents than anyone in the division. His Derby side went toe to toe with Norwich for most of last season at the top of The Championship, only for his team to fall short late on as Farke’s side continued their fine form til the end.
Frank is also still missing a number of key players due to injury. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are a few weeks away from being in contention for the matchday squad. Antonio Rudiger is still building up his fitness having played 90 valuable minutes for the U23s this week. The German defender is unlikely to start but might feature on the substitute’s bench.
N’Golo Kante is a doubt with an ankle problem, while Willian’s substitute appearance against Leicester looked like he is still struggling for fitness.
Mason Mount has shown that he has the ability and mentality to perform at the highest level and will surely be the focal point of a midfield aiming to maintain long periods of possession and control over the match.
Norwich’s defence did look vulnerable against Liverpool and so one of the key elements of the match will be converting the opportunities that fall to either Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham, whichever gets the nod from Frank to start.
However, The Blues will need to be at their most resilient in defence themselves against a Norwich side who love to attack. Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma should be striking up a better partnership with each match they partner one another, and they will have their hands full attempting to keep Pukki quiet.
However, if they can keep the home side’s danger man at bay, then surely Frank will be enjoying his first victory as Chelsea manager. And how very welcome that would be.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue