Vital Preview: Norwich City v Chelsea
Saturday 21st January 2012
The Canaries welcome to Chelsea to Carrow Road this lunchtime with both sides looking to extend their 100% starts to 2012.
The Blues ran out 3-1 winners in a controversial encounter at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, who desperately need the points to keep pace with the leading pack.
(Click to play.)
Andre Villas-Boas is impressed with how the Canaries have taken to life in the Premier League (chelseafc.com):
'It's a great pleasure when teams achieve something with a certain style. Victories are important for motivation, the way they play is very positive, they are fully motivated players with complete commitment to their manager and each other.
'They have had an excellent run of results, and they continue to surprise established teams in the league, which shows the value of the work Paul and his team are doing.
'We need to find consistency in our own performances, it will be better if we beat Norwich, but I don't care what happens in the other matches this weekend, we need to do our own job first and foremost.'
Norwich City Team News:
Marc Tierney has recovered from a groin strain and returns to the squad.
Tierney has been out of action since before the turn of the year and leaves manager Paul Lambert with a difficult decison to make.
James Vaughan and Elliott Ward are back in full training but neither are expected to feature against the Blues.
Jed Steer will again be on the bench in place of injured backup goalkeeper Declan Rudd, who is out of action for two months with an ankle injury.
Player to watch: Grant Holt
Holt gave John Terry a torrid time in the Premier League game at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, and it will be interesting to see how the England skipper responds.
Chelsea Team News:
New Chelsea signing Gary Cahill may have to settle for a place after completing a £7million move from Bolton.
Andre Villas-Boas also has Branislav Ivanovic available again, but the game may come too soon to John Mikel Obi, who returned to full training this week.
Michael Essien is fit to start after making his return from injury in last week's win against Sunderland.
Player to watch: Fernando Torres
Chelsea's squad may be an embarrassment of riches but there's one man everyone is waiting to come good. Sod's law says it'll be today.
The Canaries are 9th in the Premier League with 28 points from 21 games, two behind Stoke City RFC and two clear of Swansea.
Last time out they beat West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns thanks to goals from Andrew Surman and Steve Morison, and in their last home game comfortably beat Burnley 4-1 in the FA Cup Third Round.
City have picked up twelve points from their last eight Premier League games to sit tenth in the form table. So far this season they have won 4, drawn 3 and lost 3 league games at Carrow Road to hold the tenth-best home record in the top flight.
Last eight league matches: WWDLDDWL
The Blues are presently fourth in the Premier League with 40 points after 20 games, six behind Spurs and four ahead of Arsenal in fifth.
Last time out they beat Sunderland 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, and prior to that easily beat Portsmouth 4-0 in the cup.
In total this season they have won 5, drawn 3 and lost 2 league games away from the Bridge to hold the fourth best record in the division, and have taken 15 points from their last 8 games to also sit fourth in the form table.
Last eight league matches: WWLDDDWW.
Lock up your daughters, Mark Clattenburg is today's referee.
FA Cup Fourth Round
West Bromwich Albion v Norwich City
Saturday 28th January
Barclays Premier League
Sunderland v Norwich City
Wednesday 1st February