Norwich City 1-2 Chelsea
With two big games against Stoke City and Paris Saint-Germain in the next seven days, Guus Hiddink rested Willian as the Brazilian midfielder started from the bench. Baba Rahman was also benched with Kenedy starting on the left. Bertrand Traore was also given a Premier League debut while captain for the night Branislav Ivanovic started his 350th game for the Blues.
The match could not have started better for Chelsea when Kenedy scored his first Premier League goal on the same day he extended his contract. It was also the fastest goal of the season as the Canaries’ defence simply failed to do anything about it.
The 20-year-old cut into the middle from the left before cutting back out again and unleashing a low shot that beat goalkeeper Paul Ruddy to make it 1-0 to the Blues. There were just 39 seconds on the clock when the visitors took the lead. It was also Chelsea’s second fastest goal since Eidur Gudjohnsen scored in 27 seconds against Arsenal in 2004.
Norwich had a couple of good chances to get on the scoresheet, especially when Cameron Jerome got on the end of a Wes Hoolahan cross. The Irish midfielder’s cross to the far post was met by a leaping Jerome but his free header just sailed over the crossbar.
The Blues dominated most of the possession and kept getting in behind the Norwich defence. Eden Hazard was also actively involved in the first half, creating chances and causing the defence some trouble.
In first-half stoppage time, a quick throw-in from the Blues saw Traore eventually put Diego Costa through on goal. The Brazilian-born Spanish striker was one-on-one with Ruddy and simply chipped the ball over him to make it 2-0.
However, replays showed he was clearly offside when the pass was made and the goal should not have stood.
Jerome had another good chance to score in the second half when he was left unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box. Russell Martin’s headed lob from the left fell to the English striker and he had only Thibaut Courtois to beat but his volley sailed over the bar much to the frustration of manager Alex Neil on the bench.
Norwich eventually scored in the 68th minute when Nathan Redmond was released down the right by Hoolahan. In spite of Ivanovic trying to track back and block the shot from a tight angle, Redmond still managed to beat both the defender and Courtois to find the back of the net.
There was a brief stoppage in play when Norwich’s O’Neil and Brady clashed heads while trying to go for a ball in the air. The collision saw both players bleeding with O’Neill even having to leave the pitch and disappearing down the tunnel to receive treatment. Neil did not make a substitution and the Canaries played with 10 men for a while before O’Neil returned.
The home side had a couple of chances with Redmond going close but they simply could not find a way back into the game as Hiddink extended his unbeaten streak in the league to 10 games.
Leicester City 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City were looking to extend their lead to five points with Tottenham Hotspur to play tomorrow night. But 11 minutes into the game, the league leaders became the last home side to concede a goal at home in 2016 when West Brom striker Jose Salomon Rondon gave the visitors the lead.
An exquisite through ball from the centre circle courtesy of Darren Fletcher found Rondon in the box and he squeezed the ball past Kasper Schmeichel to make it 1-0 to the Baggies.
However, the Foxes soon equalised when via a huge deflection when Danny Drinkwater’s shot from outside the box struck Jonas Olsson and looped over a helpless Ben Foster. Claudio Ranieri’s side then took the lead when a cross into the box was delightfully flicked back towards the penalty spot by Riyad Mahrez and Andy King did the rest to beat Foster and make it 2-1.
Not many visiting teams have score two or more goals at the King Power Stadium this season but West Brom became the fourth team to do so when Craig Gardner scored the equaliser four minutes into the second half. A free-kick saw the midfielder curl the ball over the wall and into the back of the net with Schmeichel rooted to the spot.
As much as Leicester tried to get back into the game, they were forced to settle for a point as the Baggies took home a well-earned point. The Foxes only have a three-point lead at the top and the Spurs could top the table with a win due to their superior goal difference.
Other EPL scores
Sunderland 2-2 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 2-0 Southampton
Aston Villa 1-3 Everton