Blues fly high against Canaries
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea looked for back to back home victories at Stamford Bridge against newly promoted Norwich City with the Blues and Canaries meeting for the first time since March 2005. The last Premier league game between the two sides was back in December 2004 so after a six year absence Norwich City and Chelsea met after both being runners up in the Championship and Premiership, last season. At full stretch John Ruddy was forced to palm away a well struck long range strike by Ramires in the second minute, after Frank Lampard had supplied the pass for Ramires to shoot low towards the target. An absolute belter by Jose Bosingwa put the Blues ahead on five minutes as the ball flew past Ruddy from outside the box and cannoned off the inside of the left post into the net, after Florent Malouda and Lampard had combined to give Bosingwa a pot shot at goal. On the quarter of the hour mark, Canaries captain Grant Holt failed to get on the end of a fine move by Kyle Naughton and Wesley Hoolahan as Norwich City threatened for the first time. Five minutes later, Malouda and Fernando Torres linked up as Didier Drogba failed to get the final touch to prize an opening for the Blues. But Norwich City pressed again on twenty seven minutes after Chris Martin’s shot was stopped by Henrique Hilario at close range and when the ball rebounded to Naughton, the Blues keeper was forced to tip the ball over. The Canaries flew forward again as Hilario had to cover his line to keep out Holt’s header from a Naughton cross. Five minutes before the break, Drogba was unable to convert a free kick after being pulled down by Andrew Croft but the Blues lead at the break. Stout defending by Norwich was required four minutes into the restart as Anthony Pilkington put over the bar a goal bound header by John Terry off Malouda’s corner. But it was the Canaries that found a way back into the match on sixty two minutes after Naughton’s ball in was headed out of Hilario’s reach by Branislav Ivanovic and the mistake was punished by Holt, who hooked the ball over the Chelsea goalkeeper into the net. The Blues new signing Spaniard Juan Mata made his debut in place of Malouda whilst Drogba received lengthy treatment and was taken off on a stretcher following a collision with Ruddy, and Nicolas Anelka took his place. Disaster struck for the Canaries on seventy nine minutes, when their goalkeeper Ruddy was red carded for pulling down Ramires in the box, after he had been put clean through by Anelka and after a two minute delay, Lampard converted the spot kick past replacement keeper Declan Rudd. The Blues then paraded another new addition Belgian Romelu Lukaku in place of Torres. After Bradley Johnson put a free kick on a plate for Steve Morrison, the chance was squandered inside the box as time ran out for the Canaries. Mata teed up Ivanovic on eighty nine minutes but the Blues defender was unable to make a difference. Eleven minutes of injury time was played and during that period a gilt edge chance fell to Lampard, after Rudd let the ball slip from Lukaku’s low strike but the opportunity was missed from close range. But Mata ensured all three points went to Chelsea at the end by capitalising on Ritchie De Laet’s poor back pass, to slot the ball into the bottom left corner for his debut goal as the Blues ran out 3-1 winners.