Norwich City - Chelsea Preview: Win could put Blues seven points clear in race for Champions League qualification
Should Arsenal lose this weekend to Manchester United, Andre Villas-Boas' men could put daylight behind them in the race for fourth, but must overcome a tough home side to do so
By George Ankers
R Martin, Ayala, Whitbread, Naughton
Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Surman
Bosingwa, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Lampard, Romeu, Meireles
Ramires, Torres, Mata
Marc Tierney (groin) continues to be absent through injury for the home side. Kyle Naughton showed some difficulty adapting to an unfamiliar left-back role when filling in away at West Brom last weekend but, with Chelsea likely not to field an out-and-out right-winger, he may get another chance in the position.
Wes Hoolahan may be the major tactical casualty for the Canaries, with Paul Lambert usually preferring to field both Bradley Johnson and David Fox in the centre at home and Andrew Surman in good form on the left recently. Also doing well are strikers Steve Morison and Simeon Jackson, who should continue to keep captain Grant Holt on the bench.
Chelsea's £7 million signing from Bolton, Gary Cahill, is in line for his club debut at the centre of defence, while Jose Bosingwa likely to continue at right-back while Brainslav Ivanovic (hamstring) remains out indefinitely.
John Obi Mikel (hamstring) is also unavailable for Andre Villas-Boas and, while Michael Essien made a 20-minute cameo off the bench against Sunderland last weekend in his return after several months on the sidelines, the Ghanaian is unlikely to be rushed into the starting line-up just yet.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Norwich City have still yet to keep a clean sheet in any compeititon, over five months since their first outing of the season.
- Chelsea have won five of their 10 away Premier League matches so far in 2011-12.
- The reverse of this fixture, the third game of the Premier League season, saw the Blues run out 3-1 victors at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Bosingwa, Frank Lampard and Juan Mata. Grant Holt notched for the Canaries.
- 22-year-old Ryan Bertrand, a late substitute for Chelsea in their recent FA Cup victory over Portsmouth, spent two years on loan at Carrow Road between 2007-09, making 60 appearances.
- Norwich have a superior head-to-head record against the Stamford Bridge side in the league, notching 12 wins to Chelsea's 11, with 10 draws.
- Andre Villas-Boas' men have seen their names taken by referees much more frequently this term, with 48 league bookings compared to the Canaries' 30.
- Chelsea are in a better position now than they were at this stage last year - 21 games into 2010/11, the Blues were outside the Champions League place in fifth with 35 points. Going into this match, the visitors have 40 points on the board, sitting fourth.
- On this weekend last year, Norwich plundered a 2-1 win away at Sheffield United to jump into third place in the Championship. Midfielder Andrew Crofts (pictured) scored both goals that day.
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Top 3 Predictions
Norwich City 0-3 Chelsea FC
- 25.05 %
Norwich City 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 12.15 %
Norwich City 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 11.55 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||06-Oct-2013||Norwich City 1 - Chelsea FC 3|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||26-Dec-2012||Norwich City 0 - Chelsea FC 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||06-Oct-2012||Chelsea FC 4 - Norwich City 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||21-Jan-2012||Norwich City 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||27-Aug-2011||Chelsea FC 3 - Norwich City 1|
|08-Mar-2014||Norwich City 1 - Stoke 1||EPL|
|02-Mar-2014||Aston Villa 4 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|23-Feb-2014||Norwich City 1 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
|12-Feb-2014||West Ham 2 - Norwich City 0||EPL|
|08-Feb-2014||Norwich City 0 - Manchester City 0||EPL|
Times In IST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed