Frank Lampard’s quest to get his first win in charge of Chelsea continues Saturday when the Blues visit Carrow Road to face promoted Norwich City and early season Finnish sensation Teemu Pukki.
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After a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford to mark Lampard’s debut, the Pensioners did everything but win in their two games last week. Chelsea pushed Liverpool to penalty kicks, losing the shootout in five rounds after playing the Champions League winners and Premier League runner-up to a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes in Istanbul.
The fatigue of that match may have been a factor in Sunday’s, 1-1, draw vs. Leicester City that marked Lampard’s debut at Stamford Bridge. Mason Mount, rapidly becoming a central figure in Chelsea’s offense after following Lampard from Derby County, staked the hosts to a lead in the seventh minute.
Chelsea bossed the match in the first half, but could not sustain that energy in the second 45 minutes. The Pensioners conceded an equalizer midway through the second half, with defender Cesar Azpilicueta out-jumped by Wilfred Ndidi on a 67th-minute corner.
Lampard appears to have settled on a 4-3-3 formation, with N’Golo Kante given rein to play a two-way game on the right side and Jorginho playing a more reserved role in midfield. Christian Pulisic showed early promise in his first Premier League start, but the center forward position is still up for grabs as neither veteran Olivier Giroud nor youngster Tammy Abraham has created separation to be a clear first choice for the new Chelsea boss.
Norwich City claimed their first Premier League victory last weekend with a convincing 3-1 thumping of Newcastle United at Carrow Road. Pukki, who won the Golden Boot in the Championship last season with 29 goals to help the Canaries win direct promotion, has shown no signs of slowing down against stiffer competition.
The Finland star recorded Norwich’s first top-flight hat trick since Efan Ekoku bagged four against Everton in 1993, as the Canaries shook off their season-opening 4-1 defeat at Anfield to Liverpool. Pukki has accounted for all four of Norwich’s goals, with coach Daniel Farke showing no inclination to rein in his side’s forward-style of play in a 4-2-3-1 set-up.
That could be a concern given Chelsea has the talent in attack to carve Norwich’s defense and exploit the gaps the Canaries often leave behind in attack. Even in winning the Championship last term, Norwich City conceded 57 goals in 46 matches—the fourth-highest total among teams that finished in the top 10 of the table.
Chelsea is unbeaten in their last 10 top-flight matches against Norwich City (8-2-0) since a 3-0 victory at Carrow Road in 1994 on a first-half brace by Ashley Stuart Ward and a late third by Jamie Cureton.
Date: Saturday, August 24
Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
TV Channel: NBCSN
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