ENGLAND: Premier League
Venue: Stamford Bridge (London)
Saturday’s early Premier League (PL) game sees league-leading title contenders Chelsea take to the field as overwhelming favourites, and with morale sky high after a 4-0 thumping of Malmö in midweek Champions League action. Like in that European victory, a hallmark of Chelsea’s success under boss Thomas Tuchel so far is their stellar defence – they have conceded a joint league-low three goals so far.
In fact Chelsea have kept 16 clean sheets from 27 PL games under the German tactician’s stewardship. That includes shutouts in three of Tuchel’s four PL games against newly-promoted opponents since his arrival (W2, D1, L1), so rock-bottom Norwich appear to have a mountain to climb in what looks like a classic ‘David vs Goliath’ encounter.
Now winless in their last 18 PL games (D2, L16), Norwich look set to sustain their reputation as a ‘yo-yo’ side, as characterised by either a Championship triumph or a rock-bottom finish in the PL over their last three campaigns. Last victorious at Stamford Bridge in October 1993, Norwich currently prop up the table despite picking up points in the last two PL rounds.
As well as being goalless away from home, the ‘Canaries’ have also picked up just one point across the last seven PL away H2Hs (D1, L6). If there is any cause for optimism amongst the Norwich contingent, their last clean sheet here only dates back to May 2014, and after two goalless draws in the last two rounds, they are at least seeking a third consecutive top-flight shutout for the first time since 2011.
Players to watch: Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell has surprised fans with goals in back-to-back PL games, and a strike for England in between despite playing as a full-back. Meanwhile, Teemu Pukki has scored both of Norwich’s paltry two goals so far.
- Chelsea’s form in last 5 matches: WWWLL.
- Norwich’s form in last 5 matches: DDLLL.
PREDICTION: Home Win