Frustrating afternoon for Torres as Chelsea are held by Norwich

Norwich 0 Chelsea 0

Fernando Torres fired another blank as battling Norwich held Chelsea to a goalless draw at Carrow Road.

The Spain striker, who has not scored since October, endured another frustrating afternoon, denied in the first half by John Ruddy before then stabbing wide in front of goal from eight yards.

Norwich created several chances themselves, mostly through busy captain Grant Holt and went on to record a first clean sheet of the season as they continued their progress under Paul Lambert.

Chelsea had started well as they looked to make up ground on the top three who all play tomorrow.

The Canaries, though, created the first opening on seven minutes as Wales striker Steve Morison got away down the right and fed Anthony Pilkington, whose shot was parried by Petr Cech before Morison's follow-up was blocked by Ramires.

Norwich carved Chelsea apart again on 10 minutes when Morison slipped a ball inside for Holt, who slide past David Luiz before dragging a low shot just wide from the edge of the area.

The hosts remained dangerous on the counter, with the lively Pilkington curling an effort into the area which was headed clear before Morison smashed a long, cross-field ball from Holt into the side netting as the rain lashed down at Carrow Road.

Juan Mata danced down the Norwich left and chipped the ball through the penalty area, but it was too high for Daniel Sturridge.

Torres collected the ball on the edge of the Norwich area and turned Zak Whitbread before stabbing a shot with the outside of his boot towards the bottom left corner, which Ruddy turned away at full stretch.

Pilkington sent a deep cross from the right towards the far post, which was headed back by Holt, but Cech collected it under the bar.

There was a stoppage when Frank Lampard needed treatment for a calf injury.

The England midfielder eventually was helped off and replaced by Florent Malouda on 36 minutes - just after Bradley Johnson's deflected effort had almost wrong-footed Cech.

Ruddy was out to make a brave take as Torres looked to connect with a right-wing cross into the Norwich six-yard box.

It was end-to-end stuff as suddenly Holt got in space on the right and fired in an angled shot which Cech palmed away.

Mata weaved into the Norwich penalty area in first-half stoppage time, only to then fire over the bar.

Norwich began the second half with some purpose, as Pilkington smashed a cross through the Chelsea box and high into the Barclay Stand.

Chelsea slowly probed, with Luiz curling over from 20 yards after positive play from Malouda down the left.

On 58 minutes, Torres made space on the edge of the penalty area, only to then blaze the ball over.

The Spaniard then somehow managed to stab wide from eight yards after being set up by Jose Bosingwa.

Chelsea continued to press, as Mata's angled shot was saved at the near post by Ruddy.

Referee Mark Clattenburg then missed what appeared a clear handball by Raul Meireles on the edge of the Chelsea area when he charged down Holt's flick.

With 14 minutes left, Chelsea made a change as Torres was replaced by 18-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku - much to the delight of the home crowd.

Norwich made a double substitution when Simeon Jackson came on for Morison and Wales midfielder Andrew Crofts for David Fox, with Chelsea sending on Michael Essien for Meireles.

Ashley Cole drove an angled drive across goal and wide from 25 yards as the match entered the closing stages.

Norwich dug in to see out three minutes of stoppage time to record their first clean sheet of an impressive Premier League campaign.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
News
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
news
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital