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Premier League

  • 21 January 2012
  • • 12:45
  • • Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 26792

Norwich City 0-0 Chelsea: Fernando Torres frustrated again as Blues are held to a goalless draw at Carrow Road

Norwich City 0-0 Chelsea: Fernando Torres frustrated again as Blues are held to a goalless draw at Carrow Road

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Andre Villas-Boas' men had no shortage of possession and chances but a poor miss from the £50m Spaniard and some key saves from John Ruddy gave the hosts a precious point

Fernando Torres was guilty of missing a key chance as Chelsea stuttered once again, drawing 0-0 with a dogged Norwich City side who picked up their first clean sheet of the campaign.

Norwich recalled captain Grant Holt to the starting line-up alongside Steve Morison with the creative Wes Hoolahan dropping to a substitute role.

Andre Villas-Boas, meanwhile, elected for an attacking set-up with Daniel Sturridge returning to complement Fernando Torres and Juan Mata in the Chelsea attack. There was no debut for £7 million signing Gary Cahill, though, who was omitted from the matchday squad and had to watch from the stands.

The Blues monopolised possession in the opening minutes but Norwich started to break from the full-back positions and, with 10 minutes gone, forged a great chance as Morison combined brilliantly with Holt to lose the skipper in front of Petr Cech’s goal. The Canaries captain twisted himself into position and fired his shot agonisingly past the post.

Torres seemed in lively mood, and, leading a counter-attack for the visitors, he put hearts in mouths as he skipped past a yellow shirt to poke an effort low towards the corner, with John Ruddy intervening to turn it behind.

As the half drew on, Frank Lampard dropped to the floor clutching his calf, an injury that brought his afternoon to a premature end. The enforced change saw the introduction of Florent Malouda, who immediately threaded Mata through in the Norwich area before Ruddy denied the Spaniard.

Mata then arguably should have given the Blues a half-time lead when he picked up the ball in the inside-left channel following Russell Martin limply surrendering possession and made a thrilling run bearing down on the area. However, the ex-Valencia man rushed his shot somewhat and blasted over.

Firing blanks | Torres again fails to the net as Norwich hold firm

Anthony Pilkington then rushed back into his area to steal the ball from the waiting Sturridge, after Torres produced a burst of pace down the right to cross into the middle, ensuring that it remained goalless at the break.

Pilkington then caught the eye soon after the restart, cutting inside on his preferred left foot to unleash a fiery effort towards goal, but he drove it over the bar.

Chelsea responded on the hour with Torres taking hold of the ball in a crowded area, but the misfiring Spaniard was wayward once again, prodding his shot a hair’s breadth past the post when it would have been easier to score.

The Blues continued to pile on the pressure with Mata bursting down the left flank to force a great save from John Ruddy, dropping low to his right to deflect the winger’s effort.

Referee Mark Clattenburg then earned the scorn of the home support by waving away furied shouts for handball when Raul Meireles appeared to handle dangerously close to his own area.

With Torres hauled off, young Romelu Lukaku entered the fray for Chelsea but it was Mata again who proved the main threat. Picking the ball up in the centre of the area from the right-hand side, the diminutive attacker aimed for the bottom corner but once again Ruddy was there to drop low and tip it onto the post.

The Blues kept pushing with shots from Ashley Cole and Malouda coming to nothing, Ruddy again key in stopping the latter, but they could not find a way through and Norwich found themselves recording their first clean sheet of the season against the odds.

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