Norwich 1-2 Chelsea Match Report – 1st March 2016

Chelsea moved up to eighth in the Premier League table after picking up a 2-1 victory at struggling Norwich. A very early goal from Kenedy got things off to the perfect start for the Blues, before Diego Costa hit a second to extend the lead. Guus Hiddink’s men had to hold out as the Canaries pushed for an equaliser, but they managed to hold on to make it three league victories in a row.

Hiddink made a couple of changes to his team for this one, and they weren’t what we were expecting. John Terry failed to make the bench again, while Abdul Baba Bahman dropped out of the side. Kenedy came in at left back, while Bertrand Traore came into the side for Willian. Pedro was left out of the squad here, after coming off early against Southampton on Saturday.

The fastest goal of the Premier League season isn’t the worst way to kick off a game, and that’s exactly what the Blues got. Anyone questioning Kenedy’s inclusion at left back was quickly silenced, as the young Brazilian made a swift breakthrough. He shot from 20 yards, finding the net just 39 seconds into the game. Given that the Blues scored late on Saturday, they’ve picked up right where they left off here.

The Canaries seemed stunned after that goal, not sure if they should deviate from their pre-match plans. They had been set up to frustrate Chelsea, but obviously that idea was ruined very quickly. It took a while for Alex Neill to reorganise them to a new way of playing, but that didn’t exactly go to plan for them either.

It seemed like they just wanted to be still in the game after the break. They were playing for half time, hoping to keep the score to 1-0. Costa had other ideas, after Traore put him through. The Spaniard was clearly offside, something that everyone could see apart from the linesman. The flag stayed down, and John Ruddy dived towards the feet of Costa. He lifted the ball over the keeper, scoring for the eighth time in his last 10 outings.

Norwich did push back in the second half, and Nathan Redmond got a goal back for them. That set up a nervy finish for the Blues, but they held on to their lead, which saw them jumping into the top half of the league table. With three wins on the spin, is this the run we’ve all been expecting the Blues to go on?

Hiddink has to get credit for putting together this run of form. On top of that, going with Kenedy and Traore was a big statement from him. These kinds of games are a great chance to blend a few youngsters into the team, so we hope to see more of those two and Ruben Loftus-Cheek going forward. It would have been easy for Hiddink to just play the big names since he’s on a short term deal, but he’s handing out starts to players that could be the future of the club.

LCN Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas