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Premier League

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

Preview League Preview: Norwich City - Chelsea

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



R Martin, Ayala, Whitbread, Naughton
Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Surman
Morison, Jackson

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.

  • 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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Players to watch

Daniel Ayala

Position: Defender

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 21-year-old Spanish centre-half had a poor game last time out despite his side's 2-1 win over West Brom. Lucky to stay on the field, he will nevertheless almost certainly start on Saturday and how he bounces back could be crucial. Fernando Torres showed signs of improvement against Sunderland, so his young compatriot will need to be at his best to deny the £50 million man a resurgence.

G. Cahill

Position: Defender

Games: 33

  • 5
  • 4
  • 0
There is no question that all eyes will be on the new Blue if, as expected, he makes his debut at Carrow Road. Cahill was a key component of the Premier League's leakiest defence - Bolton have let in 46 goals so far this season - and will need to prove that he is better than that record. It will be no small task when he comes up against the likes of nine-goal Steve Morison.

Editor's Prediction

Carrow Road has seen more than its fair share of thrilling matches this season and there could be another on the cards. Norwich came close to toppling the Blues at their own castle in August and will feel that they are capable of doing better with their home fans backing them. The strong interplay between the Canaries' forward men against a Chelsea defence with questions to answer could see them cancel out the goals which you have to expect them to concede.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Norwich City



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Norwich City FC NOR
Norwich City FC Norwich City
Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea

Top 3 Predictions

Norwich City FC NOR
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Chelsea FC CHE
Norwich City FC NOR
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Norwich City FC NOR
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