Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-Off: 16:00 (BST)
TV Info: NBC Sports Network (8:00 AM Pacific), Sky Sports 1 HD (UK).
Title contenders Chelsea welcome relegation threatened Norwich City to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, in a clash which could seal the fate for the Canaries.
While Chelsea are still outsiders to win the Premier League title, their win against Liverpool last week means that the Blues are still in contention and manager Jose Mourinho will surely want his side to end the campaign in a professional manner, following a disappointing loss against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in midweek.
Relegation threatened Norwich City are the visitors to the Bridge on Sunday and after having lost his proud unbeaten record at home against Sunderland two weeks ago, Mourinho would certainly be looking to set the record straight.
However, it will be far from straight forward for the Blues as visitors Norwich City are simply desperate for the three points. Following Sunderland’s victory over Manchester United on Saturday, the fate of Fulham and Cardiff City has been sealed and anything other than a win on Sunday for the Canaries will mean that Neil Adams’ men will also suffer the ignominy of relegation.
As a result, Norwich should be looking to do the impossible by beating Chelsea away from home and although it looks very unlikely at the moment, stranger things have happened in the Premier League and the Canaries must head into the game believing that they can get a result.
Jose Mourinho had do without the services of a host of his stars in the midweek clash against Atletico Madrid but the Portuguese manager will be glad to be able to call on the services of majority of key players come Sunday, with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Obi MIkel, Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic all available for selection.
The only absentees for Chelsea will be Brazilian midfielders Ramires through suspension and Oscar through injury.
Mark Schwarzer will start in goal and will be shielded by a defence consisting of Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic. The likes of Ashley Cole and young Tomáš Kalas will also be in contention.
Eden Hazard looks set to start on the wings with Mohamed Salah being deployed on the other flank while either one of Willian or Andre Schurrle will be starting in the hole behind the striker. Frank Lampard and Nemanja Matic look the most likely combination in midfield while David Luiz and John Obi Mikel also provide options.
Demba Ba might get the nod to lead the line for the Blues but the likes of Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o are also alternatives for Mourinho.
Neil Adams will be without Anthony Pilkington while Joseph Yobo is still rated as a doubt for the clash. Norwich were dismal in the loss against Manchester United last week but Adams is unlikely to make too many changes to his side.
John Ruddy will start in goal for the Canaries and the defence looks set to consist of Russell Martin, Michael Turner, Yobo and Jonas Olsson.
Bardley Johnson will start in as the holding midfielder while Leroy Fer and Jonny Howson will start at the heart of the midfield. The duo of Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass will be the creative spark for Norwich while Gary Hooper looks set to lead the line in attack in place of the dismal Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Chelsea (Probable XI): Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic; Hazard, Lampard, Willian, Matic, Salah; Ba
Norwich City (Probable XI): Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Turner, Olsson; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Fer, Redmond; Hooper
Chelsea: W L D W L
Norwich City: L L L L L
06/10/2013 Norwich City 1 – 3 Chelsea
26/12/2012 Norwich City 0 – 1 Chelsea
Heading into the game, Chelsea look the overwhelming favourites for the clash. The Blues enjoy an imperious home form, while Norwich City have a woeful away record.
However, the match on Sunday arguably has to be considered the most important match for the Canaries in their Premier League history and one can be sure that they will not be willing to go down without a fight.
Chelsea seem unlikely to win the title, but Mourinho will expect his men to claim a victory against a struggling Norwich side.
While the match may hold more importance for Norwich than it does for Chelsea, the Blues have too much class in the ranks and should claim a comfortable victory.
Chelsea 3 – 0 Norwich City