Chelsea VS Norwich – LIVE Reddit Soccer 10/03/2022
Chelsea will square off against Norwich City on Thursday evening looking to further strengthen their hold of third position in the Premier League standings. While the Blues head to Carrow Road possessing a three-match winning streak in the top flight, bottom-placed Norwich have lost four games in succession. Even the most optimistic of Chelsea fans will accept that they are no longer involved in the Premier League title race, the current gap to leaders Manchester City being 16 points with two matches in hand.
Nevertheless, the Blues have been required to put together a three-match winning streak to reaffirm their hold of third spot, moving six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United having played two games fewer. Thomas Tuchel witnessed his team post a 4-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday, recording their third successive league clean sheet in the process, with Kai Havertz making it four goals from five games in all competitions. With a hectic schedule in front of them ahead of the upcoming international break, Tuchel may be prepared to rotate his squad on Thursday, but most of his players can claim to be match-fit given the fixtures which have recently been played in various competitions.
Chelsea ran out 7-0 victors in the reverse game back in October, Mason Mount netting a hat-trick, and the West Londoners are currently on an 18-match unbeaten streak against their upcoming opponents. From Norwich’s perspective, welcoming the European and world champions to Carrow Road has come at the wrong time with five defeats having been registered in a row. While the Canaries had been outsiders in the first four of those games, they were favourites to see off Brentford last weekend, only to succumb to a 3-1 defeat in front of their own supporters.
Not only has it allowed the Bees to move clear of the relegation zone, Norwich are five points adrift of safety having played at least one more game than some of their rivals. Dean Smith is aware that the triple-header after Thursday’s contest could prove pivotal with Leeds United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley all coming in succession. However, Norwich need to build confidence ahead of those fixtures, the pressure being on to deliver one of their best performances of the campaign against a team on a high, despite the ongoing situation regarding Roman Abramovich’s sale of the club.
Despite returning to training, Chelsea Cesar Azpilicueta may not be risked for this contest, and the same could also apply to Marcos Alonso who has had coronavirus. Tuchel may choose this fixture to take Thiago Silva out of the starting lineup, and the same could also apply to N’Golo Kante and Havertz, while Reece James has been ruled out with a muscular injury.
Andreas Christensen, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho and Romelu Lukaku may all be brought back into the team. Smith will be unable to call upon Norwich midfielder Billy Gilmour, who is unable to face his parent club, but the Scot is unlikely to be the only player to drop out of the first XI. Sam Byram, Ben Gibson and one of Milot Rashica or Josh Sargent may only feature among the replacements, with academy graduate Jonathan Rowe potentially being provided with his first Premier League start.
The 2021/22 Premier League season is moving into Gameweek 9 this weekend, with the latest round of fixtures beginning with a Friday night match between Arsenal and Aston Villa. The action on Saturday kicks off in the capital, as Chelsea play hosts to Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have been in fine touch in the early stages of the 2021/22 season, with the only major blips coming in the form of back-to-back losses to Manchester City and Juventus. The Blues have not faced a defeat in any other fixture and after a hard-fought win over Brentford last weekend, they were much more comfortable in the 4-0 rout of Malmo FF in the UEFA Champions League.
For Norwich City, on the other hand, 2021/22 has been a season to forget so far. The Canaries have won just once in all competitions, with that success coming in their maiden outing in the Carabao Cup. As far as their Premier League campaign is concerned, Daniel Farke & co. have managed just two points in eight games, with those draws coming in their last two games, against Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Chelsea eked out a narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City the last time these two sides faced off against each other at Stamford Bridge, with Olivier Giroud scoring the only goal of the game. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
The big win over Malmo earlier this week came at a cost, as Thomas Tuchel has been handed a double blow on the team news front ahead of the visit of Norwich City. On Saturday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.
While Christian Pulisic remains unavailable due to his continued battle against an ankle injury, the USMNT international has been joined on the sidelines by fellow attackers Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring), with the two strikers sustaining their injuries in the aforementioned game against Malmo.
With Tuchel left without a natural striker at his disposal, Kai Havertz becomes an automatic pick, with the German international set to lead the line for Chelsea against Norwich. The 22-year-old showed promising signs in his partnership with Callum Hudson-Odoi in the second half of the midweek fixture, meaning Hudson-Odoi ought to earn a recall as well.
The selection of Havertz and Hudson-Odoi should prompt Tuchel to shuffle his formation around a little, with Mason Mount playing higher up the pitch alongside the two recalled forwards. As far as the midfield double pivot is concerned, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic should return, with the duo providing a solid presence in the middle of the park.
Bottom of the Premier League, Norwich, will be hoping to avoid the whopping they took the last time they played Chelsea where the game ended in a humiliating 7-0 defeat. High-flying Chelsea arrive in excellent form and it’s tough to see the Canaries taking anything from Thursday’s clash.
Chelsea have won six of their last seven encounters with Norwich and haven’t lost against the Canaries since way back in 1994. Chelsea have kept clean sheets in their last two wins against Norwich, most recently the 7-0 win at Stamford Bridge in October. Norwich head into the game on the back of five straight defeats in all competitions, while Chelsea have won five of their last six outings and have kept four clean sheets in their last five attempts.
In terms of a final scoreline, we’re backing Chelsea to secure a comfortable 3-0 victory at Carrow Road. Chelsea ran out 7-0 winners the last time they took on Norwich and have kept clean sheets in four of their last seven head-to-heads with the Premier League strugglers. Norwich have conceded three or more goals in three of their last four league games and have failed to score in two of those matches. Chelsea have scored three of more goals in their last two fixtures and have kept an impressive four clean sheets in their last five games.