Chelsea - Norwich 0 Chelsea 1
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Norwich 0 Chelsea 1

Chelsea eased to a narrow win at Carrow Road this afternoon courtesy of a strike from Juan Mata.

Team News - After the 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa, Rafa Benitez made a couple of changes to his starting eleven for this fixture with Mikel, having served his three match suspension, coming in for Lampard and Oscar coming in for Hazard. Both of those omitted were on the bench.

First Half - It`s fair to say that it took a while for this game to really get started. Early on Chelsea were happy to keep possession but without creating any decent chances. Norwich, in the middle of the par, were a little physical and Snodgrass was lucky not to receive a yellow card for one poor tackle on Oscar.

As the game settled, Norwich started to have a greater share of the game but a shot from Tettey was unfortunate enough to slip off his boot and go for a corner. The first real chance likely to break the deadlock came when Luiz found Mata with a pass but his shot skipped the wrong side of the post.

Luiz was looking the most likely to assist in breaking the deadlock but nothing was to come of a couple of long range shots. Mikel, still searching for that elusive first Premier League goal, fired over the bar, before, with 38 minutes gone Chelsea went ahead.

Some good work from Oscar saw the ball fall to Mata and despite the attention of several yellow shirted player`s, Mata unleashed a low shot that went in adjacent to the post, his shot past Bunn in the Norwich goal.

Second Half - Looking to double the lead, Chelsea could have done so early in the half but Norwich managed to scramble away a corner, from Mata that had been flicked on at the near post.

Norwich trying to get back on level terms engineered a half chance when Holt and Hoolahan combined but the final ball was delayed too long and when Holt drilled his shot wide the offside flag was up.

Luiz, trying to replicate the marvellous free kick against Aston Villa, failed to do so from thirty yards and when Snodgrass reverted to a theatrical tumble, in the area, you began to believe that Norwich wouldn`t get back on level terms.

Although Norwich were pushing forward, Chelsea were looking to strike on the break and one surge forward saw Azpilicueta deliver a great ball that saw Moses hit a shot wide.

Benitez introduced Lampard and Hazard for Moses and Mikel, to add some stability with the latter almost doubling the lead after exchanging passes with Torres but being thwarted by Bunn, in the Norwich goal.

With time running out Norwich saw one last half chance come their way but Bassong, heading the ball downwards, saw it fly back up and over the br.

Three points in the bag but not quite as entertaining as last Sunday, but three points nevertheless.

Chelsea - Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole, Mikel (Lampard-73), Luiz, Mata (Ake-90), Oscar, Moses (Hazard-78) Torres

Unused Subs - Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Hazard,

Chelsea Scorers - Mata (38)

Chelsea Yellow Cards - Hazard

Chelsea Red Cards - Nil

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Merlin Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 26 2012

Time: 5:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I Effing hate this manu. Will they ever stop winning in the 80+ minutes? Grrr. Congrats Chelsea. Comfortable victory in the end.
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26/12/2012 17:09:00

forced to watch the united game as no chelsea live today. wasted 94 minutes of my life. this keeps happening. injury time winners. but at least we snagged 3 pts and citeh dropped all 3.
johnny come lately
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26/12/2012 17:15:00

if chelsea has play attacking football then keep mikel.out of the line up....he is damm to slow.for attacking play....we need moutinho or busquet type player who can pass the ball better..
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26/12/2012 17:16:00

Glad for the win we must continue on this run to have any chance of catching United. I caught the latter stages of the Newcastle v United game....been saying it for yrs...those guys are so lucky its painful. Three points they should not have gotten. Had Ameobi's shot gone it they would prob have been flattened..very unlucky becuz the goalie was beaten. I'm convinced that we along with City are the only teams who can stop them with lots of help from the other clubs who need to do at least the basics to make life challenging for them...any club but United.
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26/12/2012 17:17:00

Having taken 8 bottles at villa, this one bottle at carrow road s enough for the road.
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26/12/2012 17:19:00

if squad rotataion is going on then why not play marin...i think whatever little bit play i have seen i think he is a far far better player but not giving him chance to show his worth then how wil you know that how good is he...
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26/12/2012 17:20:00

not the best of displays but 'll take 3 point away at Norwich any i pray we win at everton...we must not draw.. we really need to win it...
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26/12/2012 17:22:00

great win, norwich are in fine form, considering away games and boxing day tiring player, will take 1-0 any day, next Everton, hard game, but we need to win that one
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26/12/2012 17:24:00

and Norwich are defending 10 players behind the ball, which makes our front 4 much much harder
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26/12/2012 17:26:00

I hate man u with passion, always riding on dyying minutes goal. If we can purchase a clinical striker at least in january, we might challenge them for the run. As we can see, if chelsea is not playing, then no LADY TORRES, not slating him this time around, but a player striking for chelsea must be able to create something out of nothing.
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26/12/2012 17:27:00

A narrow win but we deserved it 2nd place is within our reach we need results like this if we are going to remain challengers for the PL title pleased with the performance.
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26/12/2012 17:27:00

About marin, with the way things are going, I don't think he have a future at chelsea. Feel sorry for the lad
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26/12/2012 17:28:00

This was the sort of game we used to draw or end up losing..i am glad we are now capable of winning ugly on the road. Our defense looked quite good. Torres i must say had a really poor game but the whole front line wasnt that much better other than Moses who showed some life. Good win but now comes Everton and that will be a major test of the mettle of our side.
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26/12/2012 17:33:00

Nt an interestin game like 8pt agenda on sunday. We must keep winin to challenge manchester in d epl race. Great goal 4rm mata.
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26/12/2012 17:41:00

Good game. It shows we can also win ugly. Another 3 points from Everton game would be a perfect way to end the year.
jollyheart Torres
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26/12/2012 17:43:00

i think torres need a squad rotation and that on the bench not on the field....he should be sitting on bench not player like marin piazon danny.....waiting for the day when torres will leave chelsea....then the good days will come again... what a bad day was when we signed him...should celebrate that day as black day...
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26/12/2012 17:44:00

as i said in another least we closed in on 1 of the manc clubs.
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26/12/2012 17:58:00

Personally, I am happy with the result even if its just 1-0. This is a confident Norwich side who have lost once in 11 games. Even Manure & Arsenal lost on that ground!
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26/12/2012 17:58:00

Thank God we had the three points....Man Utd weren't lucky....They played well and took their chances,Their game was the best game today....A point would have been fair for both teams but credit to united still
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26/12/2012 17:59:00

calm down shlok, we win, stop complaining, why do people have something to complain when we win considering what happen to us this season ( change of manager, out of UCL) is amusing, we're 3rd with one game in hand, and Torres scores under Rafa which still suggest we need new striker in January
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26/12/2012 17:59:00

how times have changed...No one knows who the club is bringing on in the winter transfer window and I am really curious especially about the striker position and DM...I have been browsing many sites and none of the chelsea transfer gists has an iorta of sustance..all the journos are just speculating just like the fans...I fondly remember the robinho saga, obviously the club has moved on..and thats a good one...
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26/12/2012 18:04:00

Am really tired of tores and i mean physically, each time i watch him, arrrrrrrrrr! cant wait for january to get someone to get as those goals then hopefully we can challenge for the title word has it will be going for villa, could be a good move for us but he might need some matches
pego sama
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26/12/2012 18:06:00

@shlok27 you seem tohave something aainst Mikel because all your comments abot him are always negative. Are you sure you did not see a number of very good passes by Mikel. Torres was a bit under par but you have to realise that Turner and Bassong are very good central defenders and having a lone striker against them will always be easier for them. I was actually puzzled to see Benitez subbing Mikel instead of Luiz because he was tired and was making more mistakes.
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26/12/2012 18:27:00

@Bluefortune..Benitez said in his post match interview that Mikel had a knock on the knee so they pulled him out as a precaution...I find it hard to believe if I am to be honest..i dont think Mikel is Tubby's type of DM...I think Mikel has got a huge fight in his'll be interesting to see how he responds...its still early days..
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26/12/2012 18:30:00

Thank God we won,i couldnt see the game as i was unavoidably absent..good win for all the chelsea universe now lets look forward to the everton game(hopefully we would get the 3points)
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26/12/2012 18:30:00

'When it really MATAS,JUAN delivers'
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26/12/2012 18:39:00

Pretty scrappy game...Mata's individual brilliance got us that game,as we found it pretty difficult to break Norwich City down. Overall 3 points in the bag,Everton won't be an easy feat.
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26/12/2012 19:00:00

Good win but a really tough game against Everton coming up.How can that idiot Ferguson be allowed to approach the ref and assistant to put pressure on them at halftime two games in a row and nothing is done about it.
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26/12/2012 19:14:00

Glad of the 3 points over the hectic busy period. Us we are looking more and more assured all over the back line. David luiz is just getting better and better in CM. he had 104 touches today and attempted 84 passes both more than any other player plus every single attack we made that looked good basically started with him. Him and mikel were ok together but seemed a better balance once lampard replaced mikel. I think we still need a top top DM to sit alongside David luiz with mikel making way. I would love to see a midfield 3 or liuz,Oscar and the new DM. Roll on January.
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26/12/2012 19:20:00

yeah...honestly.. think the most pressure is on Mikel...Luiz will be a CM and not a DM like we first tot...and Mikel will fight for his dear a starter...interesting times..
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26/12/2012 19:29:00

you guys are crazy on here if you think Mikel didn't do his job today. Our build up being slow has nothing to do with Mikel but has everything to do with Norwhich Defending 10 men deep. Somebody ,made an intelligent point about how slow Barca seems to play whenever they play us cos we park the bus.Its amazing how no one saw all the tackles and interceptions he did today. Win or lose, you racists would always say something about Mikel and I hope he moves to a different club soon. Sadly though, all of our Managers always have a different opinion about him. so you guys can go jump off a cliff. Geez!!!
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26/12/2012 19:55:00

@theincrediblue why insulting all
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26/12/2012 20:01:00

mikel is out no chance 4him plz accept that , more than 175 games without a goal its really disappointment
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26/12/2012 20:06:00

@TheIncrediblue why the racists shout? That's uncalled for. Most every player gets slated in here doesn't mean the authors are racists. If you can show me an example of prejudice based on the color of a player's skin then that is different and reprehensible and that member should be banned, if not, let's keep it focused on football.
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26/12/2012 20:09:00

I always jump out of my seat screaming go on obi! when the ball is layed off to him outside the box wanting him to bury it but every time it turns into an Apollo mission to Mars.
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26/12/2012 20:13:00

@the incredible...i tot Mikel did a solid job today...but my opinion is that with recent developements, his position AS A STARTER will be under pressure going forward and he has to respond...i am sure he can...
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26/12/2012 20:19:00

So many Mikel supporters were rubbishing moving Luiz to the holding role that so many Chelsea fans have been ASKING for, for over a year!!! 2 games - 2 times man of the match from and others; Now you are seeing what a holding player should be capable of. We finally have 11 effective players on the pitch. No place for Mikel on returning from AFCON unless Lampard leaves. Luiz / Ramires or lamps have got much more power/ pace / creativity + tackling ability and are potential scorers, so WHY CANT YOU SEE IT @TheIncrediblue!!!!
pego sama
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26/12/2012 20:44:00

@the incrediblue,racist???calm down mate it hasnt gotten to that,every now and then players get a lot of bashin on here whether good or bad..opinions are diverse,so learn to respect it even if u dont agree the best u can do is have a healthy debate with the moniker..
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26/12/2012 20:54:00

what did incredible say??
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26/12/2012 21:15:00

i didn't watch the game today but all reports suggest we deserved the points. Happy days. Merry xmas everybody
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26/12/2012 21:17:00

@ the incredible, there is nothing racist in the comments about mikel today. I am a nigerian but the truth is obvious for all to see about mikel. No one ever said mikel is not a good player what most pple here myself inclusive agrees on his that he is to slow, either in releasing a first time Passor runningback to cover others and also constitutes a zero goal threat to our opponents on the pitch. With the type of attacking football we want to play now,mikel sadly does not fit into the today's game as an example. Lampard atempted 3 first time thru passes to Torres in the 15 or so minuted he got on the pitch while mikel did not make a single one time Thru pass to the Attackers. If we get a moutinho or benat, mikel's position will be under serious threat. Like it or not
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26/12/2012 21:24:00

If Mata gets injured then we are in deep ****.
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26/12/2012 23:02:00

Where are the Benitez haters..????...we have to accept the fact that benitez is managing the squad with more confidence compared to rdm..and tactically he is way better than rdm....
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27/12/2012 04:57:00

If mata gets injured, then oscar will get a run of games as a no.10 which might suprise us all, though I prefer mata upping his game as he is scoring for fun despite being in a very bad form (if u know what I mean), I prefer we play with an in form mata in all our games as it will be easier to win, but mata for over 2 months now have been covering his appalling form with a decent return of goals, on the game, norwich city are a strong side at home and gave us a run for our money, but they didn't threaten us at all which shows that their game plan is to be defensive after the aftermath of our game against villa routing them, their game plan was to keep ir tight at the back. Kudos to the team for gritting out that win
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27/12/2012 05:03:00

It is a good point. We cant expect the team to score 8 goals everytime. The fact is that Norwich were looking just for a goalless draw. It is proved in the 2nd half that even going down, they didnt attack much more. They had 10 people behind the ball to defend (just like us against barca). In games like these, we will see slow transition only, bcos the ball is always with us. We need to probe their defense with some through balls. But, at last, we need to improve our finishing ability at any cost. Moses, Torres, Mikel wasting the chances or hitting bodies...They need to watch ManU matches to see how finishing can help you win games.
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27/12/2012 05:08:00

@incredible, easy mate, i dont believe that VC members are racists though some can be annoyin attimes...@dwonder, mikel did not make a through pass to the attacker? Bros, Go & rewatch that game or where u watchin a different game? Oh how i wish mikel 'll leave these club to where he's needed & value most. "A prophet is not recognise even @ his home land". Maybe we wont know the value of mikel until we lose him....
prince china
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27/12/2012 05:11:00

ManU are not just lucky. They fight till the end. They dont lose hope or relax till fergie time. We can hate them, but no one can question their spirit to fight till the last moment. They were down 3 times, then scored the winner also. I doubt whether the chelsea team has that much spirit in them. We can take much more positive from ManU, and beat them at Old trafford (I guess it will be title clash just like 2010-11) with 2 more games after that.
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27/12/2012 05:12:00

Mikel did his job.
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27/12/2012 06:20:00

BlueFortune accept the fact thst he is not good enough for the attacking style we wanna play...we have mata haz oscar in attacking midfield but they also cant do anything if our double pivot dont deliver the ball quiack to them....i dont have any prsonal hatred against mikel...i slam every player who i think is no doing their job well....mikel is good when you play parking the bus style system which we played last season...but when we need to play attacking style we need dm who is good enough not only in defending but also quick in moving the ball forwrad...and mikel lacks that quality...i know he is your hero but for me i think about the club first then about the players...
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27/12/2012 06:50:00

Mikel does a very good job at chelsea...his ability to stay calm for 90mins even when losing is a talent few have, but at the moment Luiz is looking like the next Pirlo in that holding/DM role! As for Nando... I've got no words. I read someone comment saying bassong is a great CB! Lay off the shrooms!!! A Chelsea striker should never struggle with a CB of Bassongs calibre !!! Aguero or V.Persie don't struggle against them so why the hell should our striker struggle? No guys, I'm so desperate for a striker right now I would even take Sheva !
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27/12/2012 06:59:00

If you are on here and you still think Mikel's lack of goals in the PL means he is not a good DM or not good enough for chelsea, then something is wring with you or you don't have footballing brain. we will not overflog this issue. Mikel plays to instruction. If the coach tells him to move forward freely just like RDM did, we will see him score a couple of goals, which by the way, is not his job. There are few players in the world who are matured and plays for the team than Mikel. You can quote me on that. Come January, i will like to see Mikel leave CFC. However, i think Emenalo/Roman won't let him as they seem to appreciate him more than all of us. He deserves a club who will appreciate him. Maybe he can move to Arsenal. They really need a good DM.
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27/12/2012 08:37:00

Reports are there that chelsea are after Mario Suárez Mata At madrid defensive midfielder...if that is true than i hope chelsea should defenetly go for him...he would fit the bill perfectly for us..
Report Abuse
27/12/2012 12:16:00

Mario Suarez is not better than any of mikel or ramires,just silly paper rumours...hmmm! Interestingly these days we seem to be linked with every cat and dog
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27/12/2012 15:46:00

I havent seen him play, but was going thro the whoscored stats. There seems not much difference between Mikel & him...Maybe his overall performace rating is little high, but his performance is osciallating...performing very well in 1 match, and then averaging out in 2 matches...Instead Mikel is steady, performs same way, and so reliable...Plz lets scout someone who makes a real difference and give Mikel a real competition...Maybe i am wrong with Suarez
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28/12/2012 06:00:00


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