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

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Chelsea vs. Norwich City: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Chelsea's Premier League title challenge is all but over following a scoreless draw at home to relegation candidates Norwich City on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Both teams had penalty appeals turned down, while Chelsea twice hit the woodwork as they tried in vain to break down Norwich's resolute defence.

A victory would have taken Chelsea atop the table, at least briefly, but after the draw the Blues will be eliminated from title contention if Liverpool defeat Crystal Palace on Monday evening.

As it stands, Chelsea are third with 79 points, one behind joint-leaders Manchester City and Liverpool with one match to play. The Blues lead fourth-placed Arsenal by three points.

As @briankettle hinted, Sunday's result could be seen as a summation of Chelsea's season. 

Norwich, meanwhile, are 18th, two points behind Sunderland with one match left. To avoid relegation, the Canaries must beat Arsenal next weekend and—by virtue of their vastly inferior goal differential—hope Sunderland fail to collect a point in their final two matches, against West Brom and Swansea. West Brom, in 16th place, are only three points ahead of Norwich but have a significantly superior goal differential. 

The first half failed to produce any goals, but it did generate multiple noteworthy incidents. In the sixth minute, Chelsea striker Demba Ba had to receive treatment on the pitch after being involved in a collision with Norwich's Michael Turner. Ba suggested that Turned had elbowed him, but referee Neil Swarbrick took no action.

Five minutes later the Canaries had a penalty appeal turned down after Martin Olsson burst into Chelsea's box and went to ground under pressure from Ashley Cole and John Terry. Despite the visitors' protests, however, Swarbrick waved play on.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Chelsea's Andre Schurrle hit the woodwork in the 32nd minute, curling a shot off the far upright after cutting in from the left. Three minutes later the German forced another save, this time after cutting inside from the right. Norwich hit back in the 41st minute as Bradley Johnson saw a shot deflected just wide.

With the game still scoreless at half-time, Mourinho shuffled his lineup, introducing Eden Hazard and David Luiz for Mohamed Salah and Frank Lampard at the start of the second half. The move nearly paid off quickly as Luiz hit the crossbar in the 48th minute after good build-up play from Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic.

Chelsea then had a penalty shout of their own turned down in the 57th minute as Hazard collided with Ryan Bennett in Norwich's box. Replays showed that Hazard's airborne momentum carried him into Bennett, and Swarbrick turned down Chelsea's appeal, instead awarding Norwich a free-kick for offside on Terry. Ivanovic received a booking for dissent.

Norwich created a moment of real danger in the 71st minute, catching Chelsea with a quick counter. Nathan Redmond led the break, laying off for Robert Snodgrass on the right. Bearing down on goal, Snodgrass tried to shoot but saw his effort deflected off target.

As full-time approached, Hazard shot at Ruddy in the 79th minute and Ba headed off target eight minutes later. At the other end, Johnson headed on target but Mark Schwarzer saved, and in the closing moments Terry headed off target to seal the result.

 

Grades

Chelsea Player Ratings
Starting XI Half-Time Full-Time
Mark Schwarzer 5 6
Branislav Ivanovic 6 5
Gary Cahill 7 8
John Terry 8 8
Ashley Cole 9 8
Nemanja Matic 7 7
Frank Lampard 5 N/A
Mohamed Salah 6 N/A
Willian 7 6
Andre Schurrle 7 6
Demba Ba 6 6
Substitutes Half-Time Full-Time
Eden Hazard (for Salah, 46') N/A 7
David Luiz (for Lampard, 46') N/A 7
Fernando Torres (for Matic, 73') N/A 6

B/R UK

 

Post-Match Reaction

 

Up Next

Both teams finish the Premier League season next Sunday, when Chelsea play at Cardiff City and Norwich host Arsenal.

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