Chelsea extend lead at the top of Premier League with win over Norwich
Last Updated: 06/10/12 8:45pm
Chelsea recovered from an early scare at home to Norwich to win 4-1 and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.
Grant Holt had drilled the ball past Petr Cech early on to give the Canaries a surprise lead at Stamford Bridge.
But a Chelsea team that included the controversial duo of John Terry and Ashley Cole soon went about turning the game around against a Norwich side still looking for their first win.
- Man of the match: He may not have scored on the day, but Juan Mata had a hand in almost every attacking movement for Chelsea and thoroughly deserved the accolade for best player on the pitch.
- Goal of the match: It was a touch call because all four of Chelsea's goals were class, but it had to be Torres' equaliser for the Blues within three minutes of Holt's opener. The former Liverpool forward's brilliant header from Frank Lampard's cross into the area put the hosts back on level terms.
- Save of the match: A great one-two between Mata and Torres saw the latter out-sprint the defence, only for a good low save from John Ruddy to deny the Blues hitman his second goal of the match.
- Moment of the match: The Canaries took the lead against the run-of-play through Grant Holt's 11th-minute close-range strike.
Fernando Torres timed his run perfectly to head home the equaliser just three minutes later and Frank Lampard then put the Blues in front midway through the first half.
And when Eden Hazard calmly slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner of John Ruddy's net just after the half-hour mark the game was effectively up for the visitors before the interval.
It was comfortable for Roberto Di Matteo's men in the second half and Branislav Ivanovic added a fourth to ensure Chelsea go into the international break with a healthy lead at the top of the table.
Those internationals should see Cole earn his 99th and 100th caps for England despite yesterday's Twitter rant at the Football Association.
Terry was reminded what he had given up by walking out on his country whenever the home fans chanted 'there's only one England captain', all the while displaying their usual banner: "JT Captain, Leader, Legend."
Cole was treated to a rendition of 'he tweets what he wants', although his "unreserved" apology yesterday suggested he would no longer be doing so.
Torres had the perfect opportunity to put the European champions ahead inside four minutes but his Jekyll and Hyde form continued when he hesitated horribly after being played clean through by Lampard.
Chelsea continued to press but were left stunned as Norwich took the lead in the 11th minute thanks to three of the players recalled by Chris Hughton.
Terry was hurt defending a free-kick and he was still hobbling when Wes Hoolahan was allowed to cross to Leon Barnett, whose knockdown was crashed home by Holt.
Within 11 minutes, Chelsea had turned the game on its head.
Torres made amends for his earlier miss by timing his run to perfection to head home Ivanovic's cross and although Alex Tettey might have restored Norwich's lead on his full Premier League debut but for a completely misjudged header of his own, the visitors then pressed the self-destruct button.
They failed to clear their lines in the 22nd minute and were horribly deep as Torres' overhead kick rebounded to Lampard to arrow home first time from 18 yards.
The poor defending continued when Cole headed wide, and hit a new low in the 31st minute as Terry cleared a corner, Juan Mata evaded a lame tackle and was allowed to run unchallenged for 60 yards before threading in Hazard to slot home.
It could have been even worse for the visitors, with Cole's shot blocked behind and Oscar brilliantly dancing through but scuffing his finish straight at John Ruddy.
Holt beat Terry to two headers - both just off target - either side of half-time to serve notice that the game was not quite over.
It might have been had Hazard been awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Barnett or had Oscar's 20-yard stinger been out of Ruddy's reach.
Ruddy also came to the rescue to thwart Mata after the winger's superb run onto Hazard's pass as Chelsea really began to turn on the style.
Lampard was replaced by Ramires midway through the half, with Norwich sending on Anthony Pilkington for Bradley Johnson.
The visitors looked happy simply to avoid a drubbing and they held out for most of the half, with Ruddy winning another one-on-one battle with Torres.
But he was beaten again 14 minutes from time when Ivanovic smashed home a superb near-post volley from Mata's lay-off, yet another assist for the red-hot winger.
A raft of further substitutions followed but a fifth goal did not, despite Chelsea looking like they could score at will.
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Norwich City|
|3||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||5|
|64.7||1st Half Poss.||35.3|
|74.6||2nd Half Poss.||25.4|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|