Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Norwich
The battle for Champions League qualification in the Premier League took a dramatic turn following the CAS announcement on Monday 14th July 2020. They cleared Man City of the offenses that UEFA earlier accused them of. The two-season Champions League ban has been lifted.
This decision has a big effect on the potential qualification for the Champions League and Europa League in EPL. Arsenal seems to be worst-hit, with their 2-1 loss to Tottenham on Sunday threatening to stop them from European football next season.
Chelsea is still on course to qualify for Champions League having retained the third position after round 35 of the Premier League fixtures. Their 3-0 loss to Sheffield United on Saturday blew up the table open. Manchester United and Leicester City would have overtaken them with wins.
But Leicester suffered a shocking 4-1 loss to Bournemouth, while Manchester United succumbed to a 2-2 draw with Southampton. A last gap Obafemi goal from a corner did the damages.
Now the battle for the third and fourth position in the league is still much open. Chelsea is at 3rd with 60 points, closely followed by Leicester City and Manchester United with 59 points each. Leicester is in 4th position due to their superior goal difference to Manchester United.
The crucial encounter
Today fixture is an all-important match for Chelsea. They are playing a Norwich side that is already relegated. In the previous fixture, Chelsea managed to win 3-2 with Abraham grabbing a brace. The onus is on him to add to his tally against The Canaries if he starts.
Norwich has lost their last 7 Premier League matches. Their 4-0 loss to West Ham condemned them to the Championship. Their star striker Pukki started the season brightly. But his form has faded terribly. He has an impressive 18 goals in all competition for Norwich. However, he is yet to score in the last 11 Premier leagues after his goal against Tottenham.
What to Expect
This is a must win match for Chelsea if they are serious about their Champions League ambition. They still have difficult fixtures against Liverpool and Wolves to come. Only a win here will do.
Chelsea cannot underestimate the threat of Norwich City. They almost secured a draw against them in the first round. They surprisingly beat Man City. Pukki will be vying to break his goal drought against Chelsea having scored against them ealier in the season.
Chelsea will be without Kante but Christensen is fit after his injury against Sheffield United.
Chelsea will likely win this match. I will give Chelsea a 3-1 win. However, we expect Norwich to score. Chelsea’s collective and individuals’ defensive performance has been shambolic. They have shipped 49 goals this season keeping only 7 clean sheets. Lampard has chopped and shuffled his defense all season with little positive results.