Premier League: Norwich play host to a Chelsea side full of goals on Boxing Day
Last Updated: December 24, 2012 10:22am
Chris Hughton: Looking for Norwich to start another unbeaten run
Norwich will be wary of facing a Chelsea side on Boxing Day which plundered eight goals in its last Premier League outing.
The Canaries are, however, in decent form themselves right now, with Saturday's 2-1 reversal against West Brom bringing to an end a 10-match unbeaten run.
Chris Hughton will be looking for his troops to embark on a similar sequence of results heading into 2013, starting with a fixture on home soil.
Norwich have already beaten Arsenal and Manchester United at Carrow Road this season, so a clash with Chelsea should hold no fear.
The Blues are, however, starting to click under new boss Rafa Benitez, with the Spaniard having won over certain sections of a sceptical fan base.
An 8-0 mauling of Aston Villa on Sunday will have helped to earn him a few more admirers, with the capital outfit firing on all cylinders.
Chelsea are back into the top four and will not have given up on the title just yet, with the Blues holding a game in hand on table-topping Manchester United - who are 11 points out of reach at present.
Norwich will be hoping to welcome Grant Holt back into their starting XI on Wednesday.
The Canaries skipper was forced to sit out the weekend defeat to West Brom with a hamstring complaint, but he is itching to be involved in the festive programme.
Steven Whittaker is nursing a slight knock, but could be okay to start at full-back, while Andrew Surman (knee), Ryan Bennett (knee) and John Ruddy (thigh) remain out of action.
Chelsea picked up no fresh injury or suspension concerns against Villa, so Benitez may decide to stick with a winning formula - with David Luiz continuing in a holding midfield role.
Brazilian duo Ramires and Oscar are the most likely to come into contention after netting over the weekend, while Ryan Bertrand will be hoping to shake off a groin complaint in time to make the matchday squad.
Club captain John Terry is still nursing a knee complaint and Oriol Romeu will sit out the remainder of the season after damaging knee ligaments.
- Norwich have lost just one of their last five Boxing Day fixtures (W2 D2 L1).
- Chelsea have lost none of their last seven Boxing Day games (W3 D4 L0), but have drawn four of the last five.
- In Chelsea's last 44 Premier League away games, the Blues have only won back to back matches on three occasions.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Ruddy
- 3 Whittaker
- 2 Martin R
- 24 Bennett R
- 18 Garrido
- 7 Snodgrass
- 4 Johnson B
- 8 Howson
- 12 Pilkington
- 14 Hoolahan
- 9 Holt
Team taken from Norwich vs Man City (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 19th May 2013
Barclays Premier League
Wed 26th Dec
Everton2 - 1Wigan
Fulham1 - 1Southampton
Man Utd4 - 3Newcastle
Norwich0 - 1Chelsea
QPR1 - 2West Brom
Reading0 - 0Swansea
Sunderland1 - 0Man City
A Villa0 - 4Tottenham
Stoke City3 - 1Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
|19||West Bromwich Albion||0||0|
|20||West Ham United||0||0|
Norwich v Chelsea
Juan Mata has told Rafa Benitez he is fit enough to keep playing despite reaching a landmark number of games at Norwich.
Norwich boss Chris Hughton felt his side were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Chelsea at Carrow Road.
Rafael Benitez refused to be drawn on the speculation surrounding the future of Frank Lampard after Chelsea won at Norwich on Boxing Day.