Chelsea 4 - Norwich City 0
Report of match 18th December 2004
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Chelsea demolished Norwich City 4-0 at Stamford Bridge and this was the Blues' sixth four-goal rout in their last nine Premiership matches.Chelsea are now six points clear at the top with Everton only drawing and Arsenal playing on Sunday.
Norwich at the bottom end of the league were bereft of goalscoring opportunities - in fact they did not record a single effort on target.
Their only attempt was an off-target shot by their best player David Bentley - the on-loan midfielder from Arsenal - who had the audacity on 26 minutes to try and chip giant goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Sadly for him, the ball continued to sail over the Chelsea bar.
But to suggest that Norwich were awful would be to do them a disservice.
They started brightly and had Chelsea on the back foot for quite a period of the opening half.
But, as befits a team lacking in luck they conspired to cause their own downfall in the most miserable of ways, gifting Chelsea their first two goals.
The opener fell to Irish wizard Damien Duff on ten minutes. The winger intercepted a misplaced Thomas Helveg crossfield ball in centre midfield.
He arrowed towards the edge of the Norwich penalty area before unleashing a clever, daisy-cutting left-foot drive that had gave Norwich goalkeeper Robert Green no chance as the ball nestled into his right corner - the keeper just managing to get his right-hand fingertips to it.
Frank Lampard, seemingly every Chelsea supporter's club man of the season, collected Chelsea's just after the half-hour mark.
A poor clearance by Gary Doherty, on 34 minutes, handed the ball to Arjen Robben. The Dutchman fed the ball quickly to Lampard who lashed the ball home with a memorable, trademark right-footer from a full 25 yards that gave Green no chance at all as it sailed into the top right-hand corner of the net.
That screamer lifted Chelsea out of their lethargy and the game was all but over with a minute of the half remaining.
This time it was a Chelsea goal of their own making, with Robben the starter and sublime finisher of a wonderful move.
Quick, interchanging passes between Robben, to Lampard, to Tiago and finally back to Robben on the edge of the area saw the mercurial winger blast the ball with his left foot past Green.
Ironically, Chelsea played better in the second half as a team, but could only manage a further single goal.
Head coach Jose Mourinho rang the first of his changes on 60 minutes.
Off came the ineffectual Eidur Gudjohnsen for Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba.
The frontman showed that he is still someway from full physical fitness, but with every half hour played he is coming back into form.
Quite what he will be capable of by the closing stages of the season will be interesting - as he is still scoring goals.
He managed another strike with nine minutes of the game remaining.
Duff set him up with an excellent inswinging corner. Drogba rose majestically and headed downwards - an unstoppable powerful effort which Green, not for the first time in this game, had no chance of getting near.
Man of the Match: Claude Makelele - After a shaky start, which saw him give the ball away a couple of times, he came into his own, dictated play with his inch-perfect timing of tackles and high-quality short passing.
|Competition: Barclays Premiership Date: Saturday, 18th December 2004 Kick off: 15:00 Venue: Stamford Bridge|
|4 - 0||Norwich City
|30||Tiago Cardoso Mendes (Parker 76)||7|
|22||Eidur Gudjohnsen (Drogba 60)||7|
|16||Arjen Robben (Kezman 78)||7|
|19||Scott Parker (Cardoso Mendes 76)|
|15||Didier Drogba (Gudjohnsen 60)||7|
|9||Mateja Kezman (Robben 78)|
|15||Youssef Safri (McVeigh 70)||6|
|19||Mathias Svensson (McKenzie 8)|
|18||Paul McVeigh (Safri 70)||6|
|14||Leon McKenzie (Svensson 8)||6|
|Chelsea cards shown|
|Norwich City cards shown|