Saturday, August 24, 2019

Match Preview: Chelsea FC vs Norwich City

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will want to put the wait for a first competitive victory in charge of the Blues behind him by ensuring that the Stamford Bridge side take maximum points on Saturday against Norwich.

The Londoners have played three games under the former midfielder’s stewardship, with a UEFA Super Cup loss on penalties against Liverpool sandwiched between a Premier League defeat at Manchester United and a draw at home to Leicester.

While Lampard has come to the club in a difficult situation – a transfer ban means no signings were made during the summer – the expectation levels remain high and the pressure will only mount on the Englishman if the current funk continues.

Carrow Road, though, is a venue that holds fond memories for the manager. As a player, he scored four times against the Norfolk side, securing eight wins and three draws from 11 matches, while in the dugout his Derby side won 4-3 at Norwich last season – the last visiting side to win at the home of the Canaries.

Norwich, meanwhile, proved last week that they are not simply in the Premier League to make up the numbers as they dismantled Newcastle 3-1, with Teemu Pukki hitting the headlines by grabbing a hat-trick, adding to the strike he notched at Liverpool the previous week.

While the Finn has been christened as ‘the GOAT’ by City fans, manager Daniel Farke is more concerned about the performance of the team as a whole.

“I don't care how many he scores. My question is how we can gain more than 40 points?” he said. “I don't worry about how many goals Teemu can score. He can score 70 goals but if we don't stay up it doesn't matter.

“If he stayed on four goals and we stayed up we are all happy and delighted.”

It is this emphasis on the collective that the former Dortmund reserve boss believes will lay the foundation for survival.

“There was this scene in the first half when he ran back 80 yards and won the ball,” he said. “Pretty often strikers are greedy to score goals and assists but a win of the ball is also important.

“That is important for the team because they know they can trust each other. Only one can wear the captain's armband but I want all the lads to take responsibility.”

If Norwich were to take anything from Saturday’s fixture, it would be seen as another important step towards the 40 points that their boss craves but it would land another blow upon Lampard, whose job to get Chelsea moving in the correct direction again is proving to be a laborious one.

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