The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW36): Chelsea 1-0 Norwich
Chelsea host an already relegation Norwich team, and after Manchester United fell short due to a late Southampton goal, the Blues remain third. The twist in the past few days is that Manchester City have had their Champions League ban overturned controversially, meaning that fifth place is no longer viable for Champions League football. Frank Lampard’s team must be at their sharpest to keep a place in the top four in the next three games. Following a poor performance in the loss against Sheffield United, the Blues will look to redeem themselves at the Bridge.
The first saw a defensive Norwich a tough unit to break down. The only one real chance that fell to Giroud, who couldn’t convert inside the box. Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta was busy in attack, and delightful cutback to Giroud saw the Frenchman miss again, not wearing his shooting boots so far in this tie. Chelsea found their rhythm in the game after the drinks break, and in the 36th minute Pulisic brilliantly brings down a cross from Rüdiger, the American swivels and lashes a shot on the Norwich goal, only to be denied by Tim Krul who makes a great save to push the ball of the crossbar and out for a corner.
Chelsea’s dominance in the first half paid off when in the third and final minute of injury time, Pulisic found space for a cross on the left channel, and Giroud had his third chance of the game. Giroud got the wrong of Klose and plants it into the back of the net with a header. The Frenchman now has three goals in his last three starts for the Blues who take the lead into half time.
The second half started poorly for Norwich, they kept finding themselves guilty of giving the ball away, and in the 51st minute they were nearly made to pay when Willian’s shot from the edge of the box was well blocked by Godfrey as it went over the bar. Azpilicueta could have also had a goal in the 66th minute after quick switches of the play saw the Spaniard curl a shot with his left boot that drifted just over the crossbar to Tim Krul’s relief.
Giroud and Pulisic again combined, but this time Giroud fed the American in the 75th minute who pulled off an angled shot which Krul saved expertly. The rest of the game was a training exercise, and the substitutions meant the game lost the same flow it had in the first half.
Chelsea held on with their one goal lead, giving themselves a powerful three points in their bid for Champions League football next season.
Goals: Giroud (1)
Assists: Pulisic (1)
Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud (CHE)
The Frenchman was the only real outlet for the Blues today and had all the Blues best chances with exception. Why is he man of the match? Giroud was the best striker to break down tough defences, and what he offers as a striker was the real difference in Chelsea’s win. This was a game of small margins which Giroud was able to provide for his team.
CHE 1-0 NOR - Insight and Analysis:
I’ll keep this short and sweet, because the game wasn’t a footballing clinic, nor was it a great game as a neutral to watch. Norwich did offer more than they have in their last few games, which still isn’t a lot. Chelsea got across the line, which is exactly what they needed to do, and it keeps Leicester and Manchester United in the race for fourth.
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Manager: Frank Lampard
LB: Marcos Alonso (James 80')
CB: Kurt Zouma
CB: Antonio Rüdiger
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
CM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Barkley 67')
CM: Mateo Kovacic
LW: Christian Pulisic (Hudson-Odoi 80')
ST: Olivier Giroud (Abraham 86')
Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Tammy Abraham
Manager: Daniel Farke
GK: Tim Krul
LB: Jamal Lewis
CB: Timm Klose
CB: Ben Godfrey
RB: Max Aarons
LM: Todd Cantwell (Buendia 71')
CM: Alex Tettey (Stiepermann 79')
CM: Kenny McLean
RM: Lukas Rupp (Martin 89')
ST: Josip Drmic (Idah 79')
ST: Onel Hernandez (Pukki 79')
Michael McGovern, Mario Vrancic, Emi Buendía, Marco Stiepermann, Tom Trybull, Teemu Pukki, Adam Idah, Jordan Thomas, Russell Martin
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