Chelsea FC and Norwich City came into their game Sunday on opposite ends of the spectrum. Norwich are currently in the relegation zone, an are battling desperately to keep their status in the top flight. Chelsea will know that if they win, they would go top of the table, and keep their slim title chances alive.
Norwich began the game as any team attempting to avoid relegation would, playing at their absolute highest level. They had a great spell of possession early in the match, and it was almost rewarded. There were shouts of a penalty, after John Terry’s momentum carried him through as he took down Martin Olsson in the box, but the referee ignored the protests and carried on.
Chelsea finally found their way into the game with almost 32 minutes gone. Norwich gave the ball away twice inside their own half, Andre Schurrle was then the recipient of a pass from Nemanja Matic that put him in a good position on the left hand side. Schurrle cut inside on his right foot, then fired a shot that clanged pack off the post.
Outside of a few half chances from both teams. The first half was largely uneventful. Both teams kept the ball well for periods of time, and both had a couple of chances to get the go ahead goal. As with most games, the first goal will be crucial, but even more so here considering the circumstances. If Norwich were to score, they would surely try to clamp down an protect, knowing it could be vital to the relegation fight, Chelsea would also be scrambling and open to counter attacks. If Chelsea score first it may well give them the confidence to score another and see off the game.
Chelsea got off to a fast start by nearly scoring in the 48th minute. Halftime substitute Eden Hazard got into the game quickly by finding Branislav Ivanovic making a run into the Norwich penalty area. Ivanovic then laid off a pass for David Luiz, who saw his shot come back off of the crossbar.
After a dominating performance from Chelsea throughout the second half, Norwich almost caught the Blues on the counter. Substitute Nathan Redmond played Robert Snodgrass in behind the Chelsea defense, but a last second tackle forced the ball wide of the goal.
The Norwich defense was almost broken down in the 78th minute, when Hazard worked his way into the penalty area and was abl to get a good shot off. John Ruddy was equal to the task and punched the ball away, Fernando Torres was able to get on the rebound, but put his shot over the bar.
Despite the best efforts of the Blues, the Norwich defense stayed compact, disciplined, and wouldn’t allow Chelsea to penetrate. There were a couple of chances late on, but nothing came of them, as the game finished 0-0. With Chelsea sitting third in the league table with 79 points, their slim title chances got even slimmer with the draw. If either Manchester City or Liverpool win their next game, Chelsea will go this season without a trophy.
Man of the Match- Bradley Johnson, Johnson had a good game in midfield, and nearly scored a dramatic late goal at the end of the match.
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