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

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

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