Perhaps no result epitomized Chelsea's early season better than the 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park in September. Twelve months prior, Chelsea produced one of the most fun games of the title-winning campaign, beating Roberto Martinez's men 6-3 in the same fixture. This time around, we succumbed to a Steven Naismith hat-trick (Steven "Scottish [funning] Messi" Naismith!), and Naismith wasn't even in the starting lineup! But Besic's early injury proved a blessing in disguise for Martinez, forcing a crucial rethink that took full advantage of Chelsea's already flagging confidence and building internal turmoil. With cosmic forces conspiring against Chelsea, we never had a chance.
Today, we meet Steven Naismith again.
Naismith now plies his trade for Norwich City. He has yet to taste victory in Canaries colors, though he did score on his debut. He does have 6 goals in 7 career games against Chelsea.
It's time to break the curse and push on, taking another step towards next season's Europa League. Three points here would see Chelsea finish the day in 8th, jumping over Watford, Liverpool and Stoke City — though all three will be in action still on Wednesday.
Date / Time: Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 19:45 GMT; 2:45pm EST; 1:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Carrow Road, Norwich, England
Referee: Lee Mason — Mr. Mason takes charge of a league match for us for the first time in almost 10 months, since our 3-1 win over Sunderland at the end of last season. He did referee our 4-1 win at Walsall in the League Cup in the meantime.
Forecast: Chance of showers late.
On TV: none (UK); Premier League Extra Time (USA); Star Sports 1 / HD 1 (India); elsewhere
Live steaming: NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA); Star Sports (India); ChelseaTV (int'l; radio)
Norwich City team news: Wes "Irish Messi" Hoolahan and Sebastian "no Messi-related nickname" Bassong are facing late fitness tests, but Andre Wisdom is set to miss out with a knee injury.
Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, who's played barely 30 minutes in two appearances so far since joining in January, is ineligible. Considering that the Canaries have been kept off the scoresheet in 5 of their last 9 matches (losing 8 and drawing 1), it's perhaps a bit baffling that Bamford hasn't gotten more opportunities. Meanwhile, Norwich have conceded 51 times already this season, joint-highest in the division with Sunderland.
They fought hard over the weekend to try to derail Leicester's title charge but, in drastic contrast to Chelsea's late winner on the same day, eventually succumbed to a demoralizing last-minute defeat.
Chelsea team news: Buoyed by the comeback on Saturday giving us back-to-back wins for the first time all season, Chelsea are full of confidence and could even rotate a bit. Might we even see a start for Bertrand Traoré and/or Kenedy and/or Ruben Loftus-Cheek? Let's not get carried away....
John Terry is likely to miss out again, as are usual suspects Kurt Zouma and Radamel Falcao. Pedro's the newest name in the treatment room; he's expected to stay there at least for this week.
Chelsea are unbeaten in a dozen Premier League matches, since losing 2-1 to Leicester City in Mourinho's final game in charge. This result will be either our 10th win or 10th draw or 10th loss of the season.
Previously: Norwich are one of only four teams over whom we can do the double this season. Arsenal (already done), Aston Villa, and Sunderland are the other three. There's a very good chance that three of these four teams will be relegated at the end of the season. Our 1-0 win in November was perhaps Eden Hazard's best game of the season.