Substitutes Eden Hazard and Willian struck late to spare Chelsea’s blushes at Norwich. Anthony Pilkington cancelled out Oscar’s early opener, but bench players proved pivotal in deciding who took the points from Carrow Road.
Canaries coach Chris Hughton welcomed skipper Sebastien Bassong back after he missed the away victory at Stoke City last week. Ryan Bennett made way for his fellow defender in the only alteration.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho had Demba Ba in attack for the injured and suspended Fernando Torres. Otherwise he named the same side that put four past Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League midweek.
Chelsea raced into an early lead as Ba’s hold-up play teed up Oscar in the left channel for a first-time shot with the outside of his boot. John Ruddy was beaten by this clinical strike that found the far corner.
Senegal striker Ba continued to be a handful leading the visitors’ attack. He slipped in Juan Mata moments later, but this time Ruddy got something on the effort across goal to take it behind. The Norwich number one also saved from David Luiz from the resulting corner.
Ba then almost embarrassed England understudy stopper Ruddy as he pinched the ball off him, but Bassong was behind the keeper to clear. The presence of Jonny Howson at the other end almost forced Luiz into putting past Petr Cech from close range.
The Norfolk sunshine seemed to hinder the hosts defensively as Ba continued to put himself about. Ricky van Wolfswinkel meanwhile remained starved of service. Norwich were largely kept at arm’s length by the Blues defence with Alexander Tettey lashing wide.
Luiz went for an audacious lob from the halfway line, but hit the top of the net. Bassong then turned a stoppage time corner straight at Cech as Chelsea took their lead into the break. Hughton’s Canaries improved as an attacking force in the second half.
First Ba saw a deft flick from a left-wing Ramires cross trickle wide. A glut of chances then followed for the hosts. Pilkington was in the thick of it seeing a penalty appeal turned down by referee Neil Swarbrick when he went down under Ramires’s challenge.
Blues skipper John Terry did just enough to put van Wolfswinkel off as he chested a Robert Snodgrass centre wide. Tetty then turned another chance over the bar. With a quarter of the game to go, Norwich levelled.
Pilkington pounced as van Wolfswinkel won a towering back post header, knocking a left-wing cross down to him and forced it over the line. Mourinho made changes in response to being pegged back. Samuel Eto’o, Hazard and Willian came on as Chelsea went to a three-man defence.
Branislav Ivanovic drew a parrying stop from Ruddy before sub Hazard dragged wide on the turn after taking an aerial ball down expertly. Hughton unleashed Gary Hooper and Nathan Redmond for the closing stages, and the Canaries winger stung the palms of Cech.
The Blues went ahead again five minutes from time when they caught their hosts on the counter. Hazard’s shot went through Ruddy and over the line. Willian then quickly secured victory breaking his Premier League duck with the next attack, bending in an emphatic 25-yard strike.
Norwich see their winless run against Chelsea now stretch to 20 years. They sit just above the relegation zone whilst Mourinho’s men are guaranteed a top four spot going into the international break thanks to this first away league win.
- Norwich: 1 John Ruddy, 2 Russell Martin, 6 Michael Turner, 5 Sebastien Bassong (c), 23 Martin Olsson, 27 Alexander Tettey, 7 Robert Snodgrass (22 Nathan Redmond 81’), 8 Jonny Howson, 10 Leroy Fer, 12 Anthony Pilkington, 9 Ricky van Wolfswinkel (11 Gary Hooper 73’) 4-1-4-1
- Goals: Anthony Pilkington 68’
- Chelsea: 1 Petr Cech, 2 Branislav Ivanovic, 4 David Luiz, 26 John Terry (c), 3 Ashley Cole (17 Eden Hazard 75’), 7 Ramires, 8 Frank Lampard, 11 Oscar, 10 Juan Mata (22 Willian 81’), 14 Andre Schurrle, 19 Demba Ba (29 Samuel Eto’o 73’) 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Oscar 4’, Eden Hazard 85’, Willian 86’