For match photos, scroll to “PHOTOSTREAM” above left; go to the statistics tab for match stats; manager reaction and press conferences below
Two goals in the final five minutes allowed Chelsea to claim a 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Norwich City.
The West London club's chances of taking their first away league win of Jose Mourinho's second spell at Stamford Bridge looked to be slim going into the closing stages after Anthony Pilkington had cancelled out Oscar's early opener. Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy failed to keep out Eden Hazard’s effort with time ticking down before Willian wrapped up the points with a stunning effort four minutes from time.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton made just one change to his team, as Sebastien Bassong returned from a hamstring injury to take his place at the back. With Fernando Torres injured and suspended Demba Ba was handed just his second start of the season for the visitors.
Ba and Bassong were in fact involved in one of the match's early flashpoints, as the Chelsea striker went down under pressure from the Norwich captain in the box. The referee's refusal to award a penalty mattered little in the end, as Ba played a key role in the visitors taking the lead a few moments later. The Senegal forward escaped the attentions of his marker to latch on to the ball in the area and produced a well-weighted lay-off that Oscar thrashed into the far corner with the outside of his right foot.
Ba almost instantly doubled that lead, forcing an excellent save from Ruddy with a side-footed effort from a tight angle. But Norwich carved out a presentable chance in reply, with Petr Cech somehow keeping out Jonny Howson's attempt to pass the ball home from close range. Norwich also had the best chance before the end of the first half, but Howson could not engineer a shooting opportunity after Ricky van Wolfswinkel had headed the ball on into a dangerous area.
Chelsea had been largely comfortable since taking their early lead, but they were given a scare just a few moments after the restart following an incident that set the tone for the second period. Ramires' challenge on the breaking Pilkington had the home fans appealing for a penalty but, yet again, referee Neil Swarbrick showed little interest.
Van Wolfswinkel almost got himself on the scoresheet but could only chest a bouncing ball into the box wide with Cech stranded. However, Norwich did get the goal their endeavour deserved on the hour. Martin Olsson's cross from the left found the head of Van Wolfswinkel, and Pilkington guided the ball in via his face.
Both managers made attacking substitutions in a bid to claim the win late on, but it was two of Chelsea's new additions who provided the decisive contribution. When Alexander Tettey's failed attempted clearance fell into his path, Hazard still had plenty to do, but his shot squirmed under Ruddy’s body.
There was no sense of good fortune when Willian made certain just a minute later, the Brazilian curling the ball brilliantly home from the edge of the area to grab his first goal for his new club.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "I'm really disappointed. With the second goal, their power and pace on the counter-attack got the better of us and at 2-1 it becomes difficult. It's our corner [for Chelsea’s second goal] and you look at the process from then. There were other opportunities we had to do better, to clear it, to be stronger. Certainly now is not the time to apportion blame, it's a team effort and we had various sources to stop it before it even got to John.
"John's a top-quality keeper. I know during that first-half period he had some difficulty with the sun. He's a top-class goalkeeper and has been excellent for us, and I'm sure he'll continue to be. After conceding a poor goal so early in the game and giving them that momentum, I don't think I could've asked for more effort and determination from the players to get back into the game.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: "My idea was to come here, score the first and the second and try to kill the game as fast we can. The players did their best and the opponents deserved to play and these teams are always difficult teams to beat. They fought hard and gave us a very difficult match.
"With the result at 1-0, they didn't risk it; they were waiting for their chance to score a goal. They scored and after that, the game is open football but I'm not here to defend a point, I'm here to try to win so I had to risk a little bit. I did, but the responsibility is on the players as they're on the pitch."
"I wanted to use Demba because we know that Demba is adapted to these kind of matches, but then the match became different. When the match became more open and there was more spaces, it's all about work and I played Samuel [Eto'o]. They know the conditions and which positions to play on the pitch and they did very well. We deserved a difficult win today."
"[Ashley Cole] He has had this little [rib] problem for quite a while, but now he has it really hard in the ribs area. I didn't change him because of that, I changed him because of the options but in the end, the situation before meant it was a difficult condition. It is my concern because I want England to do well. I want my players to help their national team and I'll be there Friday because I would love England to go to the World Cup."
|19 Oct 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|26 Oct 2013||v Cardiff (H)|
|02 Nov 2013||v Man City (A)|
|09 Nov 2013||v West Ham (H)|
|23 Nov 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|30 Nov 2013||v Crystal Palace (H)|