Chelsea will be strong favourites to extend their early lead at the Premier League summit as they face bottom club Norwich in today’s lunchtime kick-off.
The Blues sit one point ahead of Liverpool after Edouard Mendy’s heroics in the west London derby win over Brentford, with Thomas Tuchel’s side on a three-match winning run across all competitions after bouncing back from successive defeats.
Chelsea thrashed Malmo 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, though that victory came at a cost with strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both suffering injuries.
Kai Havertz is expected to spearhead the attack today in their absence, can he take his chance to impress again after scoring off the bench in midweek?
Norwich’s latest top-flight foray has been a miserable affair so far, with Daniel Farke’s men winless and with just two points to their name after eight matches, already four adrift of safety.
The Canaries – without a win now in 18 Premier League matches – have scored only twice and conceded 16 goals to date this term, though have managed to keep clean sheets in back-to-back stalemates against Burnley and Brighton. They have not beaten Chelsea since 1994.
Follow Chelsea vs Norwich with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below, featuring expert analysis from James Robson at Stamford Bridge…
Farke: Tough test for Norwich… but we aren’t scared
Norwich have not beaten Chelsea since 1994, a run of 17 matches.
Per Opta, another loss today would set a new Premier League record for the club in terms of a sustained losing streak against one particular team.
And Farke is under no illusions as to the scale of the task facing his team – who are yet to even lead in a game so far this season – at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
“We know that we face the toughest task in world football – a world-class coach, world-class players and a world-class club,” he said.
“They are the reigning Champions League winners and they are top of the league, in the best league in the world.
“It couldn’t be harder, but we are looking forward to this game.
“We want to play this game and are not fearful – we have worked so hard to be able to play on this level for these games.
“If we don’t trust ourselves to play these games, then after each promotion we should say ‘no, thanks a lot, but we don’t take part in the Premier League’ and rather stay in the Championship or perhaps League One where we will win many games.
“If we go there with a top performance, then in football there is always a chance to have one of those days.”
Tuchel defends Lukaku decision
Speaking at his pre-match press conference yesterday, Tuchel hit back at criticism over his costly decision to not hand Lukaku a rest against Malmo.
“He was and is mentally a bit overplayed, like others in our squad, but that doesn’t mean that we constantly have to rest them,” said the German.
“Romelu didn’t need this break, so it was not a muscle injury or something. It was an accident.
“I don’t follow this argument. It is not like the body collapsed.”
Chelsea vs Norwich prediction
It’s top versus bottom in the Premier League and as such it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine a one-sided contest. Chelsea are without their leading striker which could, in theory, impact their goal threat.
But there is so much class elsewhere, and their deputies are themselves quality players eager to impress. Anything other than a stroll for the European champions would come as a surprise.
Norwich team news: Gilmour ineligible to face parent club
Norwich boss Daniel Farke will not be able to call upon the services of Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour this afternoon, with the Scottish playmaker ineligible to face his parent club.
Todd Cantwell, Sam Byram and Christoph Zimmermann are all still out for the Canaries, while Polish international winger Przemyslaw Placheta is short of match fitness.
Chelsea team news: No Lukaku, Werner or Pulisic
Chelsea are without strikers Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring) today after both sustained injuries in the Champions League drubbing of Malmo in midweek, with Thomas Tuchel facing questions over why he started his club-record signing in a game the Blues were expected to win comfortably anyway after revealing just days before that he was “mentally tired” after being overplayed.
Kai Havertz came off the bench to score the fourth against Malmo and will be expected to lead the line today, with Christian Pulisic still not yet ready to return following an ankle injury.
Hakim Ziyech is likely to come back in after illness, with Mason Mount on the other side of a front three with Havertz.
Chelsea predicted XI: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Ziyech
How to watch Chelsea vs Norwich
TV channel: The match will be televised live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate HD, with coverage beginning at 11:30am.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will also be able to watch the match online via the website or BT Sport app.
Welcome to Chelsea vs Norwich LIVE coverage
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s latest live coverage of the 2021/22 Premier League season.
It’s top vs bottom in today’s lunchtime kick-off as early leaders Chelsea host struggling Norwich at Stamford Bridge, with kick-off at 12:30pm BST.
Stay tuned to Standard Sport for all the match build-up, latest team news and live updates, with James Robson providing expert analysis from Stamford Bridge.