Ultimately, quality prevailed
As Torres was able to nod home an equaliser due to a lack of concentration from Norwich’s left hand side, Chelsea were able to grow into the game and dominate. The defensive double pivot of Mikel and Lampard were effectively support the attacking midfield trio as they had little to do defensively. The football at some times and particularly throughout the second half was outstanding. Norwich set up in two banks of four and squeezed the game centrally. Chelsea would have easily been able to stretch the game out wide, but with the inverted play-makers chose to stick to their philosophy of short sharp passing, often cutting through the Norwich back line. Credit has to go to Norwich stopper John Ruddy in the second half. Though the England international was caught diving backwards on Ivanovic’s late strike, the keeper saved the Canaries a number of times by dominating aerially and topped off a diligent performance but coming off his line to sneak the ball away from Chelsea’s runners from deep.
A spark in the darkness for Norwich in Wes Hoolahan
It is safe to say that in almost every sense, Norwich were out classed today. In footballing ability Chelsea were unparalleled and the Canaries were unable to maintain the necessary concentration to survive the onslaught at Stamford Bridge. However, on the few occasions when Norwich were able to maintain possession higher up the field, Wes Hoolahan proved once more why most of Norwich’s attacking play goes through him. Despite complementing the Chelsea double pivot earlier for their attacking contribution, the same system which kept Santi Cazorla quiet last week was unable to do the same with the diminutive Irishman. He was able to successfully exploit the spaces between the Chelsea midfield and defence and drift into the spaces left by the full backs throughout the game. Any joy for Norwich inevitably came through him and he managed to link up with Grant Holt quite well. If Norwich were successfully able to support their attacking pair more often they would have provided much more of a threat, but the fact that they were so isolated is perhaps credit to Chelsea’s sustained pressure throughout the match.
Ultimately the game had reached its conclusion at half time. Norwich made a concerted effort to capitalise on swift counter attacks but it rarely achieved much. Chelsea persisted with their typical play style of this season and were quickly rewarded with a dominating attacking display. Though the Blues remain unbeaten this season and top of the table, to say they are unbeatable is far from the truth; as impressive as the Chelsea side are going forward they are equally susceptible in defence, and it won’t be long until we see someone truly exploit this.