Tonight, Chelsea take on Norwich City in a Premier League clash that every neutral will be hoping is as entertaining as the reverse fixture – back in September!
Chelsea still have everything to play for with three games remaining as Frank Lampard’s men look to avoid slipping on a banana skin that could cost them Champions League football next season, as well as greater pulling power when it comes to incoming transfers. In particular Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz, where the completion of the deal seemingly hangs on whether not Chelsea can finish in the top four.
There’s no doubt that the early signings of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Hakim Ziyech from Ajax have been made to better compete in both the Premier League and Europe next season. Finishing outside the top four would be catastrophic for the Blues, especially with Leicester City doing all that they can to open the door for Manchester united – arguably now Chelsea’s closest rivals.
Chelsea remain third after Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton on Monday evening, however just one point separates them and the Red Devils in fifth with just three games to go. Chelsea have won three of their last five games – with two losses in that time coming away from home to West Ham United and Sheffield United. Fortunately for the London side they take on the Canaries at Stamford Bridge – where they have enjoyed much of their success this season. Lampard will be looking for a strong performance against a Norwich side that had their relegation confirmed last week after a 4-0 hammering at home to West Ham. I’d like to know how much money I might have won should I have bet on Michail Antonio scoring four goals past Tim Krul!
For the people out there who like a stat, did you know that Chelsea had 76% possession in their last game against Sheffield United – losing 3-0, the largest margin of defeat for a team that have had so much possession in a Premier League game since the 2003/04 season? Quite a statistic if you ask me.
Chelsea will continue to be without World Cup winner N’Golo Kante as he recovers from injury, as Chelsea look to find the same form that saw them defeat Norwich 3-2 at Carrow Road in September in a high scoring encounter.
As for Norwich, they’ve now had their relegation confirmed as they have yet to win since football returned to our television screens in June. Todd Cantwell could start as he came on from the bench in their last game as he eased his way back after picking up an injury. I can’t really write anything new or uplifting about the Canaries as every time I write about them, I hope for a spirited performance but they’ve struggled to do even that. Maybe with the confirmation of relegation the Canaries can unleash the shackles and cause a problem or two for a Chelsea side who are there to be unstuck defensively.
As for a score prediction, I hate to pile more misery on Norwich but the previous two times I’ve predicted them to lose…they’ve done just that. Although it might not be as easy as some people would think. Come full-time I expect to have seen both teams find the back of the net, with Teemu Pukki breaking his goal drought. I’ll go 2-1 to Chelsea, with Norwich putting in a performance that their fans would have wanted a few weeks ago.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Norwich City
Match Preview written by Matt Davey.