Premier League Match Report: No tweets or trials as Chelsea make their point on the pitch

Chelsea 4 Norwich City 1: Roberto Di Matteo's impressive team set aside a turbulent week to extend their lead at the top

So, back to the football, with both Chelsea and Norwich City relieved to switch attention to the pitch after off-field matters had made the headlines during the week. Well, Chelsea were, coming back from a goal down to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points.

The fact that neither Ashley Cole nor John Terry was involved in anything controversial will disappoint the headline writers, but Roberto Di Matteo, the Chelsea manager, was happy that his team had not been distracted, recording their fifth successive winand their sixth in seven league matches.

"Results tell us that we are able to blank things out and focus entirely on our aim, which is to win football games," Di Matteo said. "It proves how professional the group is. We concentrate on our strengths and the team is in healthy form. We are creating lots of chances and scoring lots of goals.

"There hasn't been any special talk [to Terry or Cole]. I judge them on what I see on the training ground and when they are there they are fully focused."

Norwich are reported to be suing Paul Lambert, the former manager, but their supporters will be more concerned about the continuing downward drift of the team now managed by Chris Hughton.

Without a win this season and now second from bottom of the table, they found Chelsea's attacking midfield trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard far too much to handle. Mata was in especially dominant form, playing a part in three of the four goals.

Chelsea's defence, though, was as unconvincing as the FA had found John Terry's to be during his hearing, allowing Norwich several clear chances.

Perhaps an early sign of their opponents' fallibility made Chelsea complacent as Fernando Torres slipped through the offside trap and ran clear only to allow Leon Barnett to recover.

Norwich took the lead after 11 minutes with Chelsea doing little more than spectate. Wesley Hoolahan made an unchecked run down the left, crossed beyond the far post where Barnett nodded the ball back to Grant Holt. The forward had peeled away to the edge of the penalty area and had all the space he needed to shoot low past Petr Cech before Terry could block.

But three minutes later Chelsea were level as Frank Lampard's diagonal pass found Mata in space on the right. The Spain midfielder backheeled the ball to Branislav Ivanovic, and when the full back's cross arced into the area, Torres timed his run to jump above Barnett and glance the ball past John Ruddy.

All was still not well in the Chelsea rearguard. Alexander Tettey was allowed a free header that he nodded sideways instead of into goal, and Bradley Johnson shot straight into Cech's arms when the ball was returned into the centre.

Yet it hardly mattered with their attacking players in such irresistible form. After 22 minutes they were ahead when Russell Martin blocked an attempted bicycle kick by Torres only for the ball to run to Lampard and the England midfielder sent a skidding volley past Ruddy from 18 yards.

A third nearly arrived in the 25th minute when Oscar's cross from the right found the head of Cole, but he nodded it wide, and Stamford Bridge was spared any possible rehearsed celebration, to relief, no doubt, in several quarters.

Six minutes later, Chelsea scored the goal of the match. Mata won the ball well inside his own half, ran 50 yards and caressed a perfectly weighted pass through the right side of the Norwich defence for Hazard to slip past Ruddy without breaking stride.

Having conceded five on two occasions this season, Norwich must have feared at least a repeat as Oscar was denied twice by Ruddy, and two appeals for penalties for tumbles by Hazard were turned down.

They seemed to have weathered the storm after that as Chelsea kept the ball and Norwich, for the most part, kept a respectful distance. But in the 76th minute Chelsea roused themselves for a final flourish, when Ivanovic reacted quickly to volley home after Mata had returned a cross from the left.

"I was more disappointed at half time than I was at the end," said Hughton. "After scoring the first goal, we needed to stay in the game for longer. As a team we're not defending well enough. We haven't started as well as we would have liked, and the season is going to test us. But against a top team we managed to be a bit of a threat."

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic (Azpilicueta, 78), David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel (Romeu, 82), Lampard (Ramires, 67); Mata, Hazard, Oscar; Torres.

Norwich (4-4-1-1): Ruddy; Martin, Bassong (R Bennett, 77), Barnett, Garrido; E Bennett, Howson, Tettey, Johnson (Pilkington, 68); Hoolahan; Holt (Morison, 76).

Referee: Andrew Taylor.

Man of the match: Mata (Chelsea)

Match rating: 7/10

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick