Norwich City vs. Chelsea: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 6, 2013

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea claimed their first three-point haul away from home in the Premier League this season, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Oscar opened the scoring after four minutes with a sumptuous, first-time finish from just inside the area, but Anthony Pilkington pegged the Blues back halfway through the second period.

A late flurry of strikes—one from Eden Hazard on a blistering counterattack, one long-range golazo from Willian—settled the matter, and the home side can feel hard done by after playing very well for long spells.

Oscar's early strike ensured the match kicked off with a bang, and it's the sort of finish you can watch a hundred times over and a hundred times again.

John Terry played it long for Demba Ba to challenge, and after the Senegalese won the aerial battle, he laid it off on the edge of the box for an outside-of-the-boot finish from the Brazilian.

It took the Canaries a further 10 minutes to really find their feet in the game, and uncertainties at the back continued to destabilise their efforts to settle into the contest.

John Ruddy spent the first half staring directly into the sun and had major issues claiming long passes and crosses. He dropped two routine catches under pressure from Ba, and only Sebastien Bassong on the line prevented the Blues from taking an early 2-0 lead.

Norwich eventually kicked into gear, courtesy of Leroy Fer and Alexander Tettey, but failed to find an opener in the first half despite finishing strong.

The second half kicked off in almost identical fashion to the first, bar another goal for the visitors.

Ba was found free at the near post thanks to Ramires' low cross, and his back-heeled effort from an acute angle just about trickled wide of the post.

Chris Hughton's side then settled well into the rhythm, and after 20 minutes of threatening, they finally equalised through Anthony Pilkington.

Martin Olsson beat Branislav Ivanovic on the left flank and swung a deep cross in, then Ricky van Wolfswinkel nodded it down, and the former Huddersfield winger bundled it past Petr Cech.

The home crowd found their voice, and Hughton sent Gary Hooper on to find a winner, but it was two sucker-punch goals that decided the contest—in favour of the away side.

A poor Canaries corner was headed clear, and Willian sent Eden Hazard through on the counter. The Belgian fired a low shot into the body of Ruddy, but the keeper inexplicably allowed it to fly under his body and squirm over the line.

Less than a minute later Willian settled it beyond any doubt, firing an incredible long-range strike right into the top corner, sealing the three points.

Afterwards, Mourinho declined to take full credit for the turnaround.

“When I make a change, the change is always fantastic and the players make it fantastic or make it rubbish—it’s up to them,” said Mourinho to Sky Sports, via The Sport Review.

“I’m happy for Willian because he is starting with us, he is not 100 per cent. He was injured in the week and the kid made himself available to try to help, and when he came on he gave us a push.”

 

Key Player Grades

Demba Ba, Chelsea: B+

Mourinho fought physicality with physicality, and Ba did a brilliant job tussling with Norwich's defence, pressing and causing mistakes.

 

Sebastien Bassong, Norwich: D

Bassong, usually a rock, had a game to forget, as he was consistently beaten in the air, on the ground and on the run.

 

Full Player Grades

 

 

What's Next?

Both teams will see an exodus of personnel ahead of the international break, with Chelsea's far more disrupted than Norwich's. The Blues then host Cardiff City on Oct. 19, while the Canaries travel to Arsenal.

 

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