Chelsea vs. Norwich City: What Blues Must Do vs. Canaries to Maintain EPL Lead

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Petr Cech of Chelsea issues instructions during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Villa Park on August 12, 2012 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

In a season where several perennial Premier League contenders have struggled with consistency, Chelsea has gained an early edge with a stretch of impressive displays, including a 2-1 road victory over Arsenal last weekend.

The strong start has allowed the Blues to open up an early three-point lead over Everton, the surprising second-place club through six matches. A victory over Norwich City would ensure the lead remains intact for at least a couple more weeks.

At first glance, a win would seem like a lock. After all, the Blues have been tremendous so far and the Canaries find themselves in the bottom three. Add the fact the match is taking place at Stamford Bridge, and it's hard to imagine a scenario where Chelsea doesn't win.

Yet, that's exactly the type of attitude Chelsea has to avoid. It's a trap game waiting to happen, and if the Blues think they will be able to emerge victorious without their 'A' game, the chances of letting a couple points slip away skyrocket.

It happens every season. A team near the top of the table is stunned by a cellar dweller because they played a subpar game. Chelsea has to make sure that doesn't happen by taking control of the game early and continuing to attack for all 90 minutes.

Luckily, the Blues have a solid cast of veteran players who should know the perils of a lackluster effort against what should be an overmatched foe. John Terry and Petr Cech have to make sure their teammates are prepared.

Norwich should be a motivated side. After a slow start, the Canaries know they have to start making up ground now if they want to avoid the dreaded relegation battle all season and there's no better way to build momentum than earning at least a point against a top team.

The biggest key for Chelsea will be gaining an early lead, preferably within the first 15 minutes, even if it means taking a few risks. If the Blues are able to bolt out to an early lead, it will quickly eliminate any upset thoughts for Norwich.

It starts with the revitalized Fernando Torres, who leads the team with three goals in league play. His return to reliability atop the Chelsea attack should ensure the Blues are able to keep pace with the Manchester clubs throughout the season.

All told, Chelsea should be able to cruise to victory, but it's not guaranteed if the Blues don't maintain their recent form.