Following a distasteful defeat at the hands of Sheffield United on Saturday, Chelsea are hoping to bounce back with a victory over already relegated Norwich City. After a strong restart to the campaign, including a spell bounding victory over Man City, the Blues have stumbled across a severely disappointing run of form, losing to West Ham and Sheffield United, and just managing 3 points of the finest of margins away at Crystal Palace. Chelsea’s top 4 hopes are changing drastically after every game, and with results elsewhere seeming to go in their favour, will the Blues capitalise on dropped points around the grounds.
As previously stated, Chelsea’s form as of late has been nothing short of mediocre, with lousy defensive performances costing them points in games they were certain favourites for. Norwich on the other hand, have nothing to lose heading into the game. The Canaries have been relegated after just one season back in the Premier League, and a discouraging campaign has seen them headed for the Championship. Norwich are without a league win since February 28th, and are coming off the back of a devastating defeat at the hands of West Ham United, or more appropriately, Michail Antonio, who bagged 4 at Carrow Road.
As news recently broke revealing that Manchester City’s European Football ban had been overturned, Chelsea’s final 3 league games are more vital than ever. With Manchester United breathing heavily down their necks, the Blues must ensure they strive for maximum points in their final 3 fixtures, and avoid clumsy performances that we’ve seen in recent weeks. Man United slipped up in the top 4 race when they conceded a 96th minute equaliser against Southampton last night, which has lifted pressure off Frank Lampard slightly, but the Boss can not rely on other teams picking up points against their top 4 rivals, and will need his men to perform to the best standard possible in their attempts to achieve top 4. Leicester’s thumping at the hands of Bournemouth also worked in the favour of the Blues, which could spur Chelsea on to secure the all important victory at Stamford Bridge this evening.
Team news and press conference:
Following Lampard’s press conference yesterday, multiple topics were addressed including the defeat to the Blades and how it affected the squads morale, and the upcoming fixtures in the league and FA Cup. The Boss stated that for now the only game that matters is this evening’s tie with Norwich. Lampard also revealed that there is now a positive feeling in the camp after the weekend’s loss, and that the squad is motivated to achieve the best result possible tonight. As far as team news goes, Lampard has not given much away, other than revealing N’Golo Kante is not fit and will miss today’s game. Andreas Christensen is in the squad despite his injury against Sheffield United, which saw him make way for Antonio Rüdiger at half time. Frank also said that Norwich are not a side to walk over, and praised Daniel Farke’s side, saying the team deserves a lot of respect, and also suggests they have been unfortunate this season not to pick up the results they sought after.
Players to watch:
Olivier Giroud: The Frenchman has performed admirably since the restart, taking multiple chances when he has been given them, and has helped Chelsea pick up vital points at the business end of the season. After a poor performance from Tammy Abraham on Saturday, it is likely we will see Giroud start, or at least feature, and the targetman will be sure to test Norwich’s wounded back line.
Max Aarons: The young Englishman may very well have his hands full should Christian Pulisic start on the left tonight. Aarons is a very capable defender with a lot of heart, but Pulisic has taken off to a flyer since the restart, and will be looking to improve on his form. This being said, it will be very interesting to see how Aarons deals with the American star.
Mason Mount vs Todd Cantwell: These two Englishmen are very similar players, from their sudden movements that worry defenders and fantastic dribbling techniques, both players will have a chance to shine later this evening. Mount has started very well since the restart, and Cantwell has also performed strongly, despite a very poor run of results for the Canaries. This battle is sure to be a good one.