First versus last. Top of the table versus bottom of the table. Team with most wins versus team with most losses. Team with fewest conceded versus team with fewest scored. Home versus away.
Alas, this match also has a lot of classic “trap game” hallmarks. While we are at home rather than on the road, and we’re not coming back from an international break, this game does come barely 48 hours after our last one, it does come as we figure out how to deal with a couple key injuries, and it does come amid increasing pressure of expectations.
The new Football Manager pre-order and beta dropped yesterday. Unfortunately, there is no save-quit-reload do-over in real life. So we’ll have to get the job done the first time, and avoid the shock cliché.
Date / Time: Saturday, October 23, 2021, 12.30 BST; 7:30am EDT; 5pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andy Madley (on pitch); Michael Oliver (VAR)
Forecast: Damp and overcast
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Thomas Tuchel took the risk to play both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner against Malmo on Wednesday, hoping to get both of our strikers out of the goalscoring droughts in what was expected to be a goalfest. And while a goalfest it was indeed, with Chelsea winning easily, 4-0, that decision itself backfired spectacularly with both Lukaku and Werner picking up multi-week injuries (and instead of any goals).
So now the onus is on Kai Havertz (who did score after coming on as a substitute), Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, and perhaps even Hakim Ziyech to make things happen. They’re certainly capable. (No, not Christian Pulisic; he may be forever injured evidently).
The rest of the squad is healthy, fit, and raring to go, so hopefully our only concern will be who scores the goals and how many we can get.
Norwich City team news: Having lost their first six league games of the season, Norwich have managed scoreless draws in each of their last two. They’re still rock bottom of the table, but that’s certainly an improvement on what had come before. They still seem incapable of scoring, but all such streaks eventually must come to an end.
Norwich will be without long-term absentees Todd Cantwell, Sam Byram, Christoph Zimmermann, and Przemyslaw Placheta. And head coach Daniel Farke’s job won’t be made any easier with Billy Gilmour ineligible, though the Chelsea loanee has been overlooked more often than not lately, much to our frustrations. If nothing else, there’s a good reason to teach the Canaries a harsh lesson.
Previously: We did the double over Norwich the last two times they were in the Premier League, and haven’t lost to them in any competition since 1994. But our last meeting was only a narrow 1-0 win, with Olivier Giroud scoring on the stroke of halftime during Project Restart. (In fact, our last four Premier League wins over Norwich have all been by a singular goal.)