Who: Norwich City FC vs. Chelsea FC
What: English Premier League Week 7
Where: Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
When: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 1:30 p.m. BST/8:30 a.m. EDT/5:30 a.m. PDT
TV: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports Live Extra; Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Sports 1 Ireland (UK)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - Sirius Channel 94, 157 (Internet 94, 157), TalkSport Radio
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Odds: Norwich City +550, Chelsea -185, Draw +300
Total: Over 2½ -110, Under 2½ -110
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
3-Way Odds: Norwich City +400, Chelsea -175, Draw +250
Total: Over 2½ -125, Under 2½ -109
Decimal Odds: Norwich City 5.00, Chelsea 1.67, Draw 3.50
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.80, Under 2½ 1.91
Fractional Odds: Norwich City 4/1, Chelsea 57/100, Draw 5/2
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 4/5, Under 2½ 91/100
Odds to win EPL: Chelsea 3/1, Norwich City 5000/1
Source: sportsbook.com (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles)
Chelsea will conclude a four-game road swing in their schedule when they visit Norwich City at Carrow Road in Week 7 of English Premier League play on Sunday.
The Blues will be looking to build on their success from Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League win at Steaua Bucharest where attacking midfielders Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle gained a lot of confidence both internally and in the eyes of perfectionist manager Jose Mourinho with their play in Romania.
Norwich City (2-1-3) have been somewhat anemic on offense early in this season and have scored just two goals in their last five league games—and a pretty paltry four overall—heading into this meeting with the Europa League champions.
Although manager Chris Hughton and the Canaries have some talent in the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Nathaniel Redmond, Gary Hooper, Anthony Pilkington and Leroy Fer, Norwich City have yet to really gel as a unit offensively, but the same could be said about many other clubs in the Premier League, including Chelsea.
Defensively, the Canaries and goalkeeper John Ruddy have been very respectable, allowing just six goals in their first six games—a total less than league leaders Arsenal (seven), defending champions Manchester United (eight) and big summer spenders Manchester City (seven).
In their last game, 14th-placed Norwich got a clean sheet from Ruddy in a 1-0 win at Stoke City from a Jonny Howson goal. In this particular fixture last season, Chelsea edged the Canaries 1-0 with a Mata goal on Boxing Day.
Norwich are 1-1-1 at home with three goals for and three goals against heading into this highly anticipated meeting with the Blues.
Chelsea (3-2-1) head into this weekend’s action in fifth place, but away from Stamford Bridge, the Blues have yet to win and have scored just one goal—a John Terry equalizer against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sept. 28—although they have allowed only two.
One player Chelsea will be without against Norwich is Fernando Torres—the striker was suspended for this game after receiving a red card against Spurs. But Torres would have been unavailable anyway after suffering a knee injury against Steaua which will sideline him for about three weeks.
In that case, new signing Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba will have to step up in a suddenly weaker position which could theoretically have guys such as Didier Drogba, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku still in its depth chart if management hadn’t sadly been caught up in the latest deal.
The Blues looked as good as they have in the last two months in Tuesday’s victory in Romania and are 3-3-1 in their last seven Premier League games, having won all three league games in which they have scored first.
In games against the Canaries, Chelsea are a dominating 7-2-1 over the last 10 and have outscored Norwich 23-6 in that span. The Blues are undefeated in their last nine in all competitions against the Canaries with their last loss coming almost 20 years ago in a Premier League fixture.
The last time Chelsea allowed Norwich a point—out of a possible 18—in this series was in a scoreless draw in January of 2012 so it’s easy to see why it is a prohibitive favorite here.
Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Steaua was the largest margin of victory for a Mourinho-led Blues team since a 4-0 win in the FA Cup in February 2007 (against Norwich City), but it’s too early to tell if that scoreline was the sign of an awakening offense or just a reflection of a very poor Steaua side.
Besides Mata and Schurrle, another Chelsea player who looks to be shaping into form is Ramires, who scored twice against the Ros-Albastrii midweek. If the young Brazilian can continue to shine on the Blues attack, then it will take some pressure off other midfielders including Eden Hazard and fellow countryman Willian.
But as always for Chelsea, the strength remains the club’s defense and with five shutouts in 10 games, goalkeeper Petr Cech and captain Terry, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have done a tremendous job holding down the fort. The Blues have allowed just three goals so far in the Premiership.
Trend-wise, the over is 7-3 over the last 10 meetings in all competitions between these two teams, but with both clubs 5-1 to the under to start the top flight season, it’s just too hard to tell if this will be a low-scoring affair or a breakout game like Steaua for Chelsea.
The last time the Blues had more than two goals under the Special One in a Premier League match was all the way back in August 2007—in a 3-2 win over Birmingham—and with Chelsea’s track record of scoring two or less all calendar year, it’s hard to get too confident about an offensive juggernaut just yet.
But with a small sense of offensive confidence heading in, a staunch-as-always defense and a history of beating Norwich, the Blues should find a way to extract all three points out of this game and stay right smack dab in the middle of the league race.
In their next game, Chelsea finally return home to West London for a league affair against newbies Cardiff City on Saturday, Oct. 19.
PREDICTION: Norwich City 0 Chelsea 2
BET: Chelsea -180
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