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Match Reports

City hold Chelsea to force FA Cup replay

6 January 2018

Norwich City produced a heroic performance to hold Chelsea to a goalless draw and force an FA Cup third round replay at Stamford Bridge.

In a closely-fought match at Carrow Road, City had arguably the better chances with Josh Murphy going close either side of the break. Chelsea's best opportunity came in stoppage-time when Davide Zappacosta volleyed wide after a corner was cleared.

Daniel Farke made one change to the starting eleven which began the win over Millwall on New Year’s Day with Christoph Zimmermann replacing Nelson Oliveira. That meant a change in formation for City as Farke went for a back three with Ivo Pinto and Jamal Lewis being deployed as wing-backs. Zimmermann, Timm Klose and Grant Hanley made up the central defensive line, with Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull just in front of them. In the attacking positions, Murphy was central with Alex Pritchard and James Maddison either side of him.

City began well and were roared on by a vociferous home support who made their voices heard when Josh Murphy first had a chance to get at Anthony Rudiger in the opening ten minutes. However, he was eventually crowded out by three Chelsea men on the right-hand side.

The visitors struggled to get going in the early stages as Farke’s decision to go with three at the back and match Chelsea was paying off. Their only effort on goal came when Kenedy skewed well wide of goal.

City were growing in confidence and broke with pace on 25 minutes via Pritchard. He had options but decided to go alone, cutting in from the left and having a strike deflected into the arms of Willy Caballero.

Murphy was becoming increasingly difficult for the visiting defence to handle and on 28 minutes he went inside from the left but should have done better with his curling effort which flew harmlessly over the bar. Seven minutes later, Maddison set Murphy away in-behind Rudiger but the City man got across his left-footed shot and it went wide.

Chelsea looked threatening just after the interval and went about their business with much more purpose. On 53 minutes, the menacing Willian dummied before knocking the ball back to Danny Drinkwater on the edge of the area, however the former Leicester man could only put his effort wide of Angus Gunn’s goal.

A flurry of long-range strikes from the visitors then followed. First Tiemoue Bakayoko fired wide from 25-yards before Willian had Chelsea’s best effort of the match with a stinging drive towards the near post; however it was brilliantly tipped away by Gunn. Moments later, the same man seized upon a loose Trybull pass before firing straight at the City stopper.

Just as Chelsea began to dominate, City showed that their threat should not be discredited. Pritchard’s shot deflected over after a period of pressure from the hosts before Klose headed Maddison’s corner just wide on 65 minutes.

Then five minutes later, the ball fell kindly for Murphy in the box following a loose Caballero punch but the forward’s first-time volley was deflected inches wide. Chelsea were struggling to match the intensity they showed just after the interval and their next best chance came from a set-piece but David Luiz’s dipping strike went over.

Antonio Conte made changes in order to force a winner, including introducing top scorer Alvaro Morata, but City held on to hold the Premier League champions to a draw and a force a replay at Stamford Bridge.

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