Chelsea recorded their first away win of the Premier League season by beating Norwich 3-1 at Carrow Road, thanks to a pair of substitutes.
Jose Mourinho’s side led for much of the game, only to be pegged back as Norwich recovered in the second half. However, goals from substitutes Eden Hazard and Willian sealed the victory for Chelsea.
Oscar gave Chelsea the lead in just the fourth minute. A long ball over the top was brought down by Demba Ba on the left of the penalty area, he laid it back to the advancing Brazilian, who fired low across John Ruddy and into the bottom corner of the net. There was a hint of handball about Ba’s control, but referee Neil Swarbrick had little chance of spotting it.
Norwich improved after the break, and equalised on 68 minutes. Martin Olsson crossed from deep on the left, Ricky van Wolfswinkel headed the ball back into the middle from the far post, David Luiz seemed to reach the ball first with his head but Anthony Pilkington diverted it past Petr Cech and into the net.
However, two goals in two minutes secured the points for Chelsea. First, Hazard took advantage of a defensive error from Alexander Tettey, who couldn’t deal with a ball floated across the Norwich backline by Oscar as Chelsea counter-attacked. Hazard latched onto the ball and shot straight at John Ruddy, but the Norwich keeper let it squirm through and it trickled over the line.
And the win was sealed by a brilliant Willian strike. Ramires was tackled on the edge of the area, and the ball broke to the Brazilian who lashed it from the right corner of the box, giving Ruddy little chance.
PRE-MATCH : Juan Mata starts for the second time this week for Chelsea, who have yet to win an away game in the Premier League. Indeed, Demba Ba for the injured Fernando Torres is the only change to Jose Mourinho's starting team from the XI that beat Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday. Chris Hughton's only change from the side that beat Stoke 1-0 last weekend is the returning Sebastian Bassong, replacing Ryan Bennett in defence.
4’ GOAL - OSCAR GIVES CHELSEA THE LEAD! Well, that was worryingly easy. Ba brings down a ball over the top brilliantly, he lays it back to Oscar who shoots first time from the left side of the area, across John Ruddy and into the bottom corner.
68’ - PILKINGTON EQUALISES FOR NORWICH! Olsson crosses from deep on the left, Van Wolfswinkel knocks it back from the far post, Luiz gets there first but his header is deflected into the net by some part of Pilkington. Game on now.
85’ - HAZARD PUTS CHELSEA BACK INTO THE LEAD! A counter-attack goal presented to Chelsea. Oscar floats a ball across the defensive line, which Tettey mis-controls straight into Hazard's path. The Belgian shoots straight at Ruddy, but he lets the ball through and it creeps over the line.
86’ - WILLIAN MAKES IT THREE! No defensive mistakes there. Ramires runs into the box but he's tackled, and the ball breaks to Willian on the right corner of the box. He wraps his left foot around it and curls into the far top corner. Ruddy got a fingertip to it, but he had little chance.
Norwich possession 45%, Chelsea 55%.
Chelsea won 72% of the aerial battles over the 90 minutes.
Chelsea played a whopping 57 long passes, Norwich just 38.
TALKING POINT: Mourinho illustrates this is a squad game. Whether Chelsea have the best first team in the Premier League is up for debate, but few could doubt that Jose Mourinho has the best attacking options at his disposal. When his starting XI proved unable to break a stout Norwich side down, he was able to call on Hazard and Willian, and they proved the difference in this game, and could do so in the season as a whole.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Oscar (Chelsea) - The curious part of the debate about who should start between Oscar and Juan Mata is that not many people suggested both could play, as they did together last season. However, they were both excellent in this game, interchanging well and providing constant problems for the Norwich defence.
NORWICH: Ruddy 4, Martin 6, Bassong 5, Turner 6, Olsson 6, Howson 6, Tettey 5, Fer 6, Pilkington 7, Snodgrass 7, Van Wolfswinkel 6. Subs: Hooper 5, Redmond 6.
CHELSEA: Cech 6, Ivanovic 6, Luiz 6, Terry 7, Cole 6, Ramires 7, Lampard 7, Oscar 8, Mata 7, Schurrle 7, Ba 7. Subs: Hazard 7, Willian 7, Eto'o 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#NCFC 1-3 #CFC WILL-HE-CAN as Chelsea revel in the Garden of Eden following an Oscar-winning performance. But Ruddy hell Norwich!