This weekend Chelsea are up in Norfolk taking on a Norwich side and looking to take the three points on offer to hang onto the Premier League pace-setters. Our hosts have a compact ground that reminds me of how football used to be when I was younger atmosphere wise. Norwich will be test, as most teams are, to get a result against one of the fancied teams in the Premier League. Can Norwich upset the apple-cart or will Jose`s side return to London with all three points?
Ahead of the clash Jose Mourinho, at his pre-match press conference gave a few views on the Premier League remarking,
‘I think the league will be open until the end.”
‘At this moment some teams are being helped by the fixtures, some are more difficult than others. Manchester United have the most difficult one, immediately followed by us. I think by the end of November, that is the moment we will find out somebody is in a little bit better situation than others. I think this season can go all the way, and I think that is good.’
‘Every weekend someone can lose points.”
“In relation to my team at this moment we are not strong enough to be dominant in every match and win consecutively. That is my point of view.’
And that is just how it should be, a competitive league!
Norwich City Team News:
Chris Hughton will be sweating on the fitness of Sebastien Bassong who has still to recover from a hamstring problem that has affected him for the last few weeks.
Also rated as doubtful are Javier Garrido and Nathan Redmond, both were absent last week. Ricky van Wolswinkel has missed a training session or two this week with a toe injury but should be fit.
Player to watch: Ricky van Wolfswinkel
The name itself just suggest he is somebody to look at!
Chelsea Team News:
Chelsea travel to Carrow Road with a strong squad. Injury wise Marco Van Ginkel remains a long term casualty whilst Eden Hazard will be hoping to shake off an injury that prevented him from travelling to Bucharest for the recent Champions League game against Steau.
Fernando Torres is also injured but the red card he received at White Hart Lane, last weekend would have ruled him out anyway.
With Torres out injured we expect Samuel Eto`o to deputize for the Spaniard.
Player to watch: Juan Mata
It was said man a time last season that when Juan Mata didn`t play Chelsea didn`t play. Since he returned to the starting eleven Chelsea have looked more fluent going forward and far more creative in front of goal.
Match Facts & Stats
The omens are good, for Saturday, if you cast an eye into the record books. Norwich City have not registered a win against Chelsea in the past nine meetings between the two clubs. The last time Norwich beat Chelsea, in this fixture, was back in December 1994 when we lost 3-0.
Last season Chelsea emerged victorious courtesy of a goal from Juan Mata.
The nominated officials for this encounter are;-
Referee – N. Swarbrick
Assistant – P. Kirkup
Assistant – D. Eaton
Fourth Official – R. Madley
Delia Smith and Stephen Fry would probably disagree with me completely but I`m of the opinion that Chelsea will have far too much class for Norwich and that given the right application they can walk away from this one with a comfortable win, quite possibly by 3-1 with Eto`o getting his first goal for Chelsea!
Our next fixture, after the break for World Cup Qualifiers, will be against Cardiff City, at Stamford Bridge, on Saturday 19th October.