Chelsea survived the drama of a difficult day off the field to triumph 3-1 at Norwich and maintain their lead in the race for Champions League qualifying.
The Blues came to the field at Carrow Road just hours after discovering that owner Roman Abramovich had been sanctioned and his assets had been blocked by the UK government.
Chelsea needed a special permit to play this midweek match, but goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount, and Kai Havertz secured all three points.
Let’s find out how all of it unfolded!
Story of the match
In terms of the football, Chelsea grabbed command after a shaky start by Norwich. Trevoh Chalobah scored first, a looping header at the near post from Mason Mount’s corner. Tim Krul saved two shots from Kai Havertz before giving up the third.
Havertz assisted Mount on his seventh goal of the season. The first three came in a 7-0 demolition of Norwich at the Bridge, and the result remained consistent until Dean Smith changed the tactics and made two changes at halftime.
Smith was rewarded by his squad summoning a battle.
‘What a contrast,’ said the Norwich boss afterwards. ‘I asked them if it was attitude or the system, and it was probably a bit of both.’
Chelsea was missing Christian Pulisic, who was ailing, and Azpilicueta, who was also ill, so Ruben Loftus-Cheek played 45 minutes at right wing-back.
Teemu Pukki’s penalty in the 68th minute cut the deficit in half. Referee Martin Atkinson required the assistance of his VAR to see Chalobah’s clear handball.
Pukki remained calm and sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way from the scene.
Chelsea appeared vulnerable for a little while, but Havertz made it 3-1 in the 90th minute.
Norwich suffered their fifth consecutive defeat, dropping to rock bottom with ten games remaining, beginning with three crucial games against Leeds, Brighton, and Burnley.
Chelsea is comfortably inside the top four, facing a future as a frozen asset.
After a day in which the Champions League holders’ club shop was forced to stop, ticket sales were halted, and their very future was in doubt, the focus shifted to things on the pitch, and they truly turned for the task!
The visiting fans began chanting support for Abramovich before kick-off and continued doing so during the early exchanges.
The Chelsea kit still bared the emblem of shirt sponsor Three, despite the telecoms firm canceling its agreement with the club earlier in the day. But it would be a surprise if it appears in the next game.
Chelsea who is in deep trouble from aspects related to outside the pitch assured their fans that it won’t hamper their performance on it. Their 3-1 win was a statement win as they keep hitting the nails to fix their top 4 spot!