Chelsea face the second of back to back away league games when they visit Norwich on Tuesday night. The Blues will be looking to put together a run to start climbing the league table, and they’ll need momentum to carry into the cup competitions that they retain ambitions of winning. Can they get a good run started at Carrow Road?
The first 12 days of March are massive for the Blues, and this game is what kicks that off. Following this match and a clash at home to Stoke, they then host PSG and head to Everton in the FA Cup. Poor league results could still see them drop dangerously close to the bottom three, while cup defeats would end their season. There’s no room for errors at the start of the month.
Luckily, Chelsea face a side who look hapless at the minute, one who are in danger of an immediate return to the Championship. Alex Neill’s men are conceding way too many goals, and they are only out of the bottom three after the Blues thumped Newcastle and hurt their goal difference. The Canaries look a little short on quality to survive this season.
Of course, they’ll be viewing this game as a chance to get points, given that they’re facing a midtable side with eyes cast elsewhere. The Blues could well be distracted here, and they’ve been known to underperform away from home, as seen when they went to Watford a few weeks ago. They need to avoid another result like that, and to do that, they’re going to need goals.
Diego Costa has already scored against Norwich this season, one of the few times the forward scored in the last few months of Jose Mourinho’s reign. He’s in great form, and he could well tear the Canaries apart here if given the chance. With Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard seemingly back to their best, you’d imagine the Spaniard will be getting plenty of opportunities here.
Hazard is one to pay attention to here, as he’s responded to Guus Hiddink’s call for him to prove himself again. Granted, that came against City’s youth team, but he should have some kind of confidence back. If he plays as well as he did in the cup at Carrow Road, he’ll really threaten a few of these defenders.
We see the Blues picking up a narrow win here, as they look to put a run together ahead of the PSG return leg. If we’re going to be seeing squad rotation from the manager, it’s more likely to come against Stoke than in this match. Expect basically a full strength side here, with John Terry possibly back for this clash. Hopefully the champions can get the three points, putting enough space between them and the relegation dog fight and allowing them to focus on cup glory.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-1