City take the lead but leaders are too strong
A BRIGHT start from City which saw them take the lead through skipper Grant Holt was undone by the clinical finishing of the European Champions as Chelsea came from behind to record a 4-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
The City captain had stunned the home crowd when he slammed home a Leon Barnett knock-down in the area - his second goal in consecutive games. But the Blues were not behind for long as Fernando Torres headed Chelsea level and they were then ahead after 21 minutes when midfield stalwart Frank Lampard was on hand to rifle home from a rebound on the edge of the area.
Further goals ahead of the break from £32million signing Eden Hazard and then a well-struck effort from defender Branislav Ivanovic sealed the points. However, changes in midfield saw Hoolahan and Tettey help create chances for Holt who was working hard up front against John Terry and David Luiz.
On his side's performance at Stamford Bridge, City boss Chris Hughton said: "I was expecting that type of afternoon in that they would have the bulk of possession with the quality that they have got and cause us the problems that they did.
"What I was hoping would happen was after getting an early lead we would keep it for a longer period of the game. We were able to cause them some problems and we were able to get on the ball in some good areas so there are positives, but at the moment we are conceding goals that are really hurting us."
Hughton made five changes to the team that lost heavily to Liverpool last Saturday. In to the starting eleven came Captain Grant Holt, having scored his first goal of the season against the Reds.
Sebastien Bassong made a return to the defence after he picked up a hamstring problem against Newcastle a fortnight ago. Wes Hoolahan came into midfield, as did Alex Tettey to make his first Premier League start for the Club. Michael Turner, Robert Snodgrass, Simeon Jackson and Steve Morison were named on the bench.
The first opportunity of the game did come for the hosts after some even opening exchanges - a through-ball from Frank Lampard found Torres who was not deemed offside, but from a good position he couldn't dig out the ball and he gave Barnett time to recover and retrieve the situation for the Canaries.
Tettey and Hoolahan were providing City with impetus and the Canaries were ahead on 10 minutes a good pass from Hoolahan found Leon Barnett unmarked who headed it down for Holt in the box and he slammed it home past Petr Cech.
But unfortunately City weren't ahead for long as Torres equalised five minutes later - Juan Mata was found in space on the right and laid it off for Branislav Ivanovic who crossed in for the Spaniard to head home from inside the six-yard area.
With 19 minutes gone City worked themselves another opportunity through Hoolahan and Martin on the right whose crosses put Chelsea under pressure - Bradley Johnson just unable to see his resulting shot past Cech who caught his effort.
Three minutes later the Blues were ahead when Lampard hit home after a Torres overhead kick was charged down, and the England midfielder was on hand to rifle home the loose ball which fell invitingly to him.
On 25 minutes Ashley Cole got himself in a good position for a header but he couldn't direct it and danger was averted.
Just after the half-hour though the Canaries fell further behind when a Canary attack was broken down and Mata broke from midfield, and with the Canaries chasing back the Spaniard played a defense-splitting pass to Eden Hazard who slipped it past Ruddy for 3-1.
With 10 minutes of the half to go a low cross from Hoolahan forced John Terry to stick his boot out and luckily for him the ball was diverted wide of the goal for a corner.
Chelsea were controlling more of the play through Mikel and Lampard in midfield and on 39 minutes the Blues worked themselves a good shooting opportunity for Oscar, which Ruddy did well to get down and smother.
The Canaries weren't giving up and just before the break Bradley Johnson put in a high cross from the left, which Holt did well to climb up to ahead of his marker but his header unfortunately rose high over the upright.
Half-time: Chelsea 3, Norwich City 1
City were unchanged at the break and created a good opening two minutes in - Johnson and Garrido combined on the left and Johnson's cross found Holt who glanced a header just wide of Cech's far post.
Chelsea were getting more into their running as the half progressed and claimed a penalty when Hazard collided with Barnett in the area when the Belgian looked to nip in on a back pass, but referee Anthony Taylor waved away the home side's appeals.
On 56 minutes Oscar had another attempt well-saved by Ruddy.
The Canaries were living dangerously with City's number one was called into action again moments later. Mata ran the full length of the pitch to play a one-two with Hazard, only for Ruddy to stop the Spaniard scoring with a good save with his feet.
City again worked the ball well with a back-heel from Holt finding Hoolahan, but David Luiz read the Irishman's intentions to find Tettey and intercepted the move just on the edge of his area.
The first change of the game came on 67 minutes from Chelsea, when Lampard was replaced by Ramires. This was swiftly followed by City's first substitution, Anthony Pilkington coming on for Johnson.
It was a much-improved performance by the Canaries and they were still pressing to get back in to the game. Pilkington rising for Bennett's cross but just unable to direct it home.
The multi-million pound acquisitions of Oscar and Hazard were obvious outlets for the European Champions and Russ Martin did well to prevent the Belgium international nipping in at the back post midway through the half.
Torres was found by Hazard who was denied by Ruddy but the Canary 'keeper could do nothing about Chelsea's fourth which was a well-struck effort by Ivanovic - the defender latching on to a pass from Mata on the right.
Further changes were made by both sides - Steve Morison came on for Holt and Ryan Bennett replaced Bassong for the Canaries. Having just extended Chelsea's lead Ivanovic was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta and Mikel came off having made 250 appearances for the Blues for Oriol Romeu.
Chelsea were now controlling the play with John Terry and Romeu going close with headers in the final five minutes.
Final score: Chelsea 4, Norwich City 1
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 77), Cole, Luiz, Lampard (Ramires 67), Torres, Mata, Oscar, Mikel (Romeu 83), Hazard, Terry (c). Subs not used: Turnbull, Moses, Cahill, Bertrand.
CITY: Ruddy, Martin, Johnson (Pilkington 68), Bassong (R. Bennett 77), Howson, Holt (c) (Morison 76), Hoolahan, E. Bennett, Garrido, Barnett, Tettey. Subs not used: Bunn, Turner, Snodgrass, Jackson.