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Chelsea vs Norwich City: Three talking points ahead of kick-off | Premier League 2019-20

Chelsea are looking to bounce back from the Bramall Lane debacle
Chelsea are looking to bounce back from the Bramall Lane debacle
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 13 Jul 2020, 22:30 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Chelsea welcome a relegated Norwich City to Stamford Bridge in the second-to-last home game of the season, desperately looking to get back to winning ways.

After another slump at Sheffield United, the Blues are sitting precariously in fourth position. In fact, by the time of the kick-off, they might as well be down to fourth if Manchester United win against Southampton on Monday.

Frank Lampard's men have been wobbly lately, losing twice in the last four games, but cannot afford any more slip-ups with Wolves and Leicester City also in contention and FFP overturning Manchester City's European ban today.

This has only served to amp up the race for Champions League and every game hereafter is a daunting 'final' with a victory in each of them absolutely imperative to finish inside top-four.

With that and much more, let's look at some of the important issues ahead of the clash:

Chelsea's last 'easy' fixture

The Blues will be put through the wringer in the final games of the season
The Blues will be put through the wringer in the final games of the season

With all due respect to Norwich City, the upcoming clash at the Stamford Bridge should be the last easy match left in Chelsea's schedule, who're staring at an otherwise treacherous end to the season. With 35 games into the Premier League campaign, they'll be left with only two domestic outings after this, on the either side of which are the FA Cup and Champions League ties, none of which are particularly duck soup.

The Blues next play Manchester United at Wembley, then travel to Liverpool, and finish the league asssignments at home to Wolves, before making the daunting trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

After what's been a challenging year for Frank Lampard and Co., it looks like the next few weeks are going to be the defining period of the club's 2019-20 season. So a resounding victory against the already-relegated Canaries would be a nice way to gird up the loins.

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Can the Blues keep a clean sheet?

The Blades tore apart Chelsea last time out
The Blades tore apart Chelsea last time out

Chelsea's biggest issue this season has been their utterly shambolic defense. With 49 goals conceded in the league, they have the worst defensive record of all the teams currently in the top 10 and the glaring shortcomings at the back have been brutally exploited in the last few games. Ever since the restart, the Blues have conceded 10 goals in six league outings, while Sheffield United ruthlessly put them to the sword last time.

The defense is clearly this team's Achilles heel, but Chelsea should aim for nothing but a clean sheet against a Norwich side which has the worst goalscoring record in Premier League's top-tier.

With just 26 strikes from 35 games, the Canaries have been appalling upfront. Teemu Pukki's purple patch has long evaporated, whereas Todd Cantwell, the only other player in the side with more than one league goal, has gone off the boil too. So, anything other than a shutout should be a disappointment for the Blues.

How many changes is Lampard going to make?

The Chelsea
The Chelsea 'gaffer' is walking on eggshells right now

As said before, Chelsea have the all-important FA Cup clash to Manchester United at the weekend and Lampard would naturally want to rest some of his key players ahead of the Wembley showpiece, after all, its now their last hope of a silverware this season. So what are those changes going to be?

Christian Pulisic, one of the best players since the restart, was subbed off in the last match due to an apparent knock, and might be rested here along with N'Golo Kante, who's just recovered from a hamstring problem. Also, Oliver Giroud might be back into the XI and lead the line, while Mateo Kovacic could be the deepest lying midfielder. In the defense, Antonio Rudiger is also in contention to start ahead of Andreas Christensen. for Chelsea.

Published 13 Jul 2020, 22:30 IST
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