CHELSEA v NORWICH CITY
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, May 4, 2014
NOT many would have predicted that Norwich City would be heading to Stamford Bridge with the Blues having been defeated in their last two matches on home turf.
Usually impregnable on familiar territory, Jose Mourinho lost his unbeaten home league record as Chelsea boss against Sunderland a fortnight ago, while Atletico Madrid of course booked their place in the Final of the Champions League with a 3-1 win in south-west London on Wednesday.
The Canaries will undoubtedly draw encouragement from those outcomes but their own form on the road doesn’t read well, having lost nine in a row in all competitions away from Carrow Road since drawing at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.
With just two games left, a positive result on Sunday is a must for Neil Adams’ team if they are pull themselves out of relegation trouble come the end of the season.
Chelsea lead the head-to-head record between the two sides with 19 wins to Norwich City’s 14, while there have been 13 draws.
This fixture last season finished 4-1 to the hosts, despite Grant Holt putting the Canaries into the lead after just 11 minutes.
MOST RECENT COMPETITIVE MEETINGS…
NORWICH CITY 1-3 Chelsea 06/10/2013 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 0-1 Chelsea 26/12/2012 – Premier League
Chelsea 4-1 NORWICH CITY 06/10/2012 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 0-0 Chelsea 21/01/2012 – Premier League
Chelsea 3-1 NORWICH CITY 27/08/2011 – Premier League
LAST TIME AROUND… Norwich City 1-3 Chelsea, October 6 2013 – Barclays Premier League…
The Canaries were unlucky to come away with nothing when the two teams last met in the reverse fixture last October.
When Anthony Pilkington equalised midway through the second half it looked as though Carrow Road was about to play host to another famous upset, but a late double salvo from Chelsea earned them their first away win of the season.
Oscar had fired them ahead early, with substitutes Eden Hazard and substitute Willian doing the damage in the final ten minutes of the contest with the match-winning goals.
The result left City languishing in the bottom three on seven points after seven Premier League matches, but then boss Chris Hughton was philosophical after the whistle.
"There are lots of positives to take from the game,” he said.
"It [losing] is obviously very difficult to take at this moment. We had worked ourselves back into the game after a difficult start to put ourselves in a position where, when we equalised, I did not think we would lose the game.
"I doubt there was anybody watching who did not feel we did not deserve anything from the game."
L – 1-3 v Atletico Madrid (H) 30/04/2014 – Champions League Semi Final Second Leg
W – 2-0 v Liverpool (A) 27/04/2014 – Premier League
D – 0-0 v Atletico Madrid (A) 22/04/2014 – Champions League Semi Final First Leg
L – 1-2 v Sunderland (H) 19/04/2014 – Premier League
W – 1-0 v Swansea City (A) 12/04/2014 – Premier League
L – 0-4 v Manchester United (A) 26/04/2014 – Premier League
L – 2-3 v Liverpool (H) 20/04/2014 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v Fulham (A) 12/04/2014 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v West Bromwich Albion (H) 05/04/2014 – Premier League
L – 0-3 v Swansea City (A) 29/03/2014 – Premier League
LAST CHELSEA XI (4-2-3-1 v Atletico Madrid)…
Mark Schwarzer; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry (c), Ashley Cole; David Luiz, Ramires; Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard, Willian; Fernando Torres.
LAST NORWICH CITY XI (4-1-4-1 v Manchester United)…
; Steven Whittaker, Russell Martin (c), Michael Turner, Martin Olsson; Bradley Johnson; Robert Snodgrass, Leroy Fer, Jonny Howson, Nathan Redmond; Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
REFEREE – Neil Swarbrick…
The only other Norwich City fixture Neil Swarbrick has refereed this season was when the Canaries played Chelsea at Carrow Road last October.
The Lancashire-born official was most recently in action on Monday night when he oversaw Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium.
His last game at Stamford Bridge was at the end of January, when West Ham United came away with a point after a 0-0 midweek draw.
In his 32 matches this campaign, Swarbrick has given out just one red card – to Leeds United’s Stephen Warnock – along with 111 yellow cards.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES (all games at 15.00 on Saturday unless stated otherwise)…
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (12.45)
Aston Villa v Hull City
Manchester United v Sunderland
Newcastle United v Cardiff City
Stoke City v Fulham
Swansea City v Southampton
Everton v Manchester City (17.30)
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion (Sunday, 13.30)
CHELSEA v NORWICH CITY (Sunday, 16.00)
Crystal Palace v Liverpool (Monday, 20.00)