Chelsea, Norwich play to stalemate at Carrow Road

Willian - Chelsea - stalemate

Photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov

With Chelsea visiting Carrow Road for a third-round FA Cup tie against in-form Norwich City, the Blues entered not expecting to have anything handed to them. In the end, the Premier League giants still got more than they bargained for.

The teams played to a scoreless stalemate after Chelsea turned in one of its more mundane performances of the season. Deeming Norwich the better side Saturday would be a stretch of the imagination, but the club impressed in the first half and never looked completely overwhelmed.

“We wanted to mirror Chelsea’s shape,” Norwich manager Daniel Farke told reporters after the match. “It nearly worked, but sadly it was a draw.

“We can take a lot of confidence. We had so many young players. We are going in the right direction.”

Norwich manager Daniel Farke experimented with a three-ponged attack led by Alex Pritchard, Josh Murphy and James Maddison. Alexander Tettey and Tom Trybull sat in behind them, while Ivo Pinto and Jamal Lewis operated as wingbacks outside a trio of center backs.

David Luiz, now healthy, stepped back into Chelsea’s starting XI. Blues manager Antonio Conte didn’t feature several regulars though with it being a Cup match.

A sloppy first half saw both clubs unable to generate many quality opportunites at goal. The visitors looked particularly sluggish before the break, but livened up a bit in the second 45.

Despite the favorite’s suboptimal display, Chelsea still managed to outshoot Norwich 15-6 while owning 61 percent of the ball. Blues goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero was also hardly tested, with the hosts unable to put any of their efforts on frame.

The Canaries impressed with their build-up play in the middle third, but the final product consistently lacked. Their defensive shape and marking on crosses, however, were superb.

The clubs will now have to settle their FA Cup tie at Chelsea.

“We need to turn up at Stamford Bridge and put in the performance of our lives,” Murphy told reporters following the draw. “You never know what can happen.”

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KJboxing.

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