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Barclays Premier League: Norwich City 0, Chelsea 0

14:48 21 January 2012

Fernando Torres has a golden opportunity to score but puts his shot wide. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Fernando Torres has a golden opportunity to score but puts his shot wide. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

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Norwich City produced a battling display to keep Chelsea’s multi-million pound stars at bay and earn a valuable Premier League point and their first clean sheet of the season.

The roar that greeted the final whistle at Carrow Road was more like that for a victory, and well-merited as the Canaries fought tooth and nail in their first goalless draw of the campaign.

Goalkeeper John Ruddy produced three excellent saves, one from Fernando Torres and two from Juan Mata, to keep City on terms, while Spanish World Cup winner Torres missed a golden chance to decide the game on the hour when he poked his shot wide.

City’s best efforts came in the opening half, when Grant Holt whistled a shot wide and Bradley Johnson’s deflected effort almost wrong-footed goalkeeper Petr Cech.

It was a much better effort from Norwich than they produced in high-profile home games against Arsenal and Tottenham, and the result means they have still not been doubled under manager Paul Lambert.

Chelsea lost England midfielder Frank Lampard 10 minutes before half-time with what looked like a calf injury.

Lambert made two changes after the 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion, restoring midfielder David Fox and striker Grant Holt to the starting line-up at the expense of Wes Hoolahan and Simeon Jackson, who were on the substitutes’ bench.

Fit-again full-back Marc Tierney could not force his way into the squad of 18 and there was still no place for defender Leon Barnett.

There was one change for Chelsea after the 1-0 win over Sunderland, with Daniel Sturridge in for Oriel Romeu. But there was not even a place on the bench for new £7m defender Gary Cahill, who arrived from Bolton last week.

City were defending the Barclay goal as steady rain arrived on kick-off, and Naughton was forced to concede the first corner under pressure from Bosingwa, Whitbread volleying clear from Lampard’s kick.

There was a promising break from the Canaries in the sixth minute when Russell Martin and Morison combined for Pilkington to cross towards the near post, where Cech was able only to parry the centre and Ramires had to slide in to stop Morison getting in a clear shot at goal.

A superb move almost provided City with the opening goal in the 10th minute when Morison turned Pilkington’s pass into the path of Holt, who whistled a left-foot shot just the wrong side of the post.

Mata volleyed over from a Lampard corner, half-cleared by Whitbread, as Chelsea hit back, then Torres squandered an opening when Mata found him on the right, the flag stayed down, but his poor cross was stabbed away by Whitbread.

Pilkington had a powerful shot headed away by Terry and a crossfield ball by Holt set up Morison on the right side of the penalty area, but against two defenders, he fired into the side netting.

Ruddy made an important save on 26 minutes, diving to his right to push Torres’ toe-poke round the post after Ramires found the striker in space.

A splendid pass by Fox gave Pilkington the chance to cross from the right, Holt getting in a header from beyond the far post but lacking the power to trouble Cech.

There was a hold-up 11 minutes before the break when Lampard went down, calling for treatment to his left leg. He quickly decided he was unable to continue and Malouda prepared to come on.

When play resumed, Surman set up Johnson for a shot that took a deflection off Terry and almost wrong-footed Cech, the keeper diving to his right to save.

Malouda replaced Lampard and as Chelsea pushed forward, Ruddy dived out to claim Sturridge’s cross at the feet of Torres.

Cech was next in action, clawing the ball away as Holt hooked it in from the right edge of the penalty area.

Ruddy did superbly again moments later to cut out Mata’s shot after Malouda had weaved his way into the Norwich area.

The keeper then had to claim a long-range effort from Meireles.

Mata wasted another opening when he fired over the top after Malouda had again put him through.

• Half-time: Norwich City 0, Chelsea 0

Two minutes after the break, Pilkington did superbly to get the better of Cole and Terry wide on the Norwich right but spoiled his good work with an overhit cross straight out of play.

Whitbread cut out a dangerous cross from Cole, and Luiz curled a shot over the top from Malouda as Chelsea threatened for the first time since the interval.

Torres fired over with a rather ambitious effort after 58 minutes, then he fired wide a minute later from Bosingwa’s cross after the full-back had left Surman trailing – an amazing miss from the Spanish star as he poked his shot the wrong side of the post.

Ruddy came to the rescue on the hour with a fine save from Mata at his near post after Sturridge’s diagonal pass set up the chance and Mata escaped the attention of Russell Martin.

The home crowd were furious moments later when a blatant handball by Meireles on the edge of the Chelsea area went unpunished as he blocked Holt’s attempt to flick the ball over his head. Referee Clattenburg waved play on, though how the officials missed it was a mystery.

Meireles curled a shot just over the top from the edge of the area midway through the half, but Luiz earned the derision of the home crowd for reacting theatrically to a challenge from Johnson, clutching his face when there appeared to be little or no contact.

Ruddy clutched a powerful drive from Meireles as Chelsea pressed again.

With 13 minutes to go, Torres departed after another blank afternoon, to be replaced by Lukaku.

City made a double change with 11 minutes to go, Crofts and Jackson replacing Fox and Morison, while Chelsea made their final change, Essien replacing Ramires.

Mata had another chance from Malouda’s pass, turning to hit a shot that glanced the outside of the post and may have brushed Ruddy’s fingers, though a goal-kick was given.

Cole’s volley was not too far wide five minutes from time as Chelsea still looked for a winner, then Malouda squeezed a shot just wide via a deflection off Crofts.

Naughton was caught by the boot of Mata as he made a timely clearance as the seconds ticked away.

In the final minute, Lambert made one last change with Bennett replacing Surman. His first touch was a poor clearance that fell to Malouda, but he blazed his shot high into the crowd.

• Result: Norwich City 0, Chelsea 0

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ayala, Whitbread, Naughton; Pilkington, Fox (Crofts, 79), Johnson, Surman (Bennett, 90); Morison (Jackson, 79), Holt. Subs (not used): Steer, Drury, Hoolahan, Wilbraham.

• Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Meireles; Ramires (Essien, 79), Lampard (Malouda, 37); Sturridge, Torres (Lukaku, 77), Mata. Subs (not used): Turnbull, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Romeu.

• Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

• Attendance: 26,792

Podcast - Norwich City 0, Chelsea 0

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26 comments

  • Just got back ... from The Carra! I dont think Ged's back yet .... from wherever he hides on a Saturday! What a great match. And how proud can Pilkington be of himself with that display against possibly the best left-back in the world? And one more thing --- will you guys now finally shut up about the clean sheet and start concentrating on how many points we are collecting - that is after all the object of the game!

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Think Barnett is paying the price for one too many errors Brewer. I have to say that is the best central defensive and goalkeeping performance that I have seen this season. I though Ruddy's saves were good rather than outstanding. I felt he did what he had to do, but it was his general play and the partnership between him and the defence that stood out for me. Another point and another difficult game to tick off. This was another aspect to this team today. They were resilient, rather than brilliant and that shows the character that we all know we have. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Have to agree with the comments about our keeper John Ruddy today, he was top dollar, I've cricised Whitbread sometimes this season but both he and Ayala were immense in the centre of defence. Holt's work rate was amazing as usual, the only small down side might be that it's a pity Morison can't match his captain's work rate. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • PL`s faith in Zak Whitbread being rewarded. If he stays fit Zak looks a class act. Working alongside ZW in this form will do wonders for Ayala`s development. I was an early doubter, entirely because of his litany of injuries. But I hope he is over all that now. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Absolute rubbish today - if we keep playing like this we will never even get into Europe this season. Sorry but Norwich are going to have to settle for mid-table at around 50 points !! Very disappointing considering last two seasons achievements.

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Massive result and finally a clean sheet! 11 points to go to that magic 40! So proud of the way the boys fought today..still not been doubled!:)

    Report this comment

    YorkCanary

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Suspect there won't be too many of the "Ruddy's not good enough" brigade on here tonight... flawless performance.

    Report this comment

    Johannesburg Chris

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • O.T.B.C. First clean sheet super super result and ruddy was great along with holt , postive result , ruddy should be in the england squad !

    Report this comment

    pink lady

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Just got back... from the pub. No goals but what a BIG performance... We've now got more league points than that Championship team down the road! HA HA HA

    Report this comment

    mathsman

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • A grwat performance and one that will help keep our boys in the Premier League. http:www.keelbyunited.co.uk

    Report this comment

    Dawleylad

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Well done the Canarys !

    Report this comment

    Stop Press

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • The MOTD pundits must have been watching a different match. 'Chelsea could have been 3 or 4 up'. 'Norwich were second best all game'. They were never going to penetrate our brilliant defence and we matched them in every department.

    Report this comment

    Mikado Kember

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Crab, it could be my considered reply to your posting has been ethered. All adds to the sinister pattern that is becoming all too clear.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Just got back....from escorting Gedward to the vet. Sadly no lethal injection, but he's been fixed and might tweet in a higher voice from now on.

    Report this comment

    captaincozmik

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • PS What`s happened to Barnett?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Now why would a sensible comment like that be ethered? I don't get it. I expect Die GrossKontrollen are busy thinking up something controversial for Ged to say. Hopefully the sensible stuff will eventually also come to light!

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Ruddy marvellous. The chants of On The Ball City were louder than the radio 5 commentary

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Great performance by all: The defence in particular. I thought Ruddy, Ayala and Whitbread were outstanding whenever the shield around them was pierced, which wasn't that often, nor with real commitment by a less than impressive Chelsea side. I also really enjoyed watching the near panic in the Chelsea defence whenever Morison or Holt went marauding.

    Report this comment

    Robin Hood

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • I think that the central defenders and the keeper have proved themselves to the doubters now. The way Chelsea held the ball up at the start rather than charging in shows that this team now has the respect it deserves in the Premiership. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Just got back ... from taking the dog to the vet. Brilliant shut out by the Yellers. Will watch MOTD tonite. Excellent result. 2 years ago we'd have been glad of an away draw @ Stockport. Now we're mixing it with some of the best teams in the world !

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Radio 5 tend to be much fairer in their assessment. They gave us quite a bit of credit for the way they played and said that Chelsea didn't really do enough. However they do have a wider range of knowledge. I don't think Hansen ever played in the lower leagues for example and so I think his knowledge outside of the prem is questrionable. The best pundit has to be Claridge. He played through all the lower and higher divisions, plus with the number of clubs he has played for he must have a wide network of contacts. Anyway, onwards and upwards. Tough games to come, but nothing we can't handle. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Monday, January 23, 2012

  • wow. luvin it! COYY

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Brilliant result lads. Thought we might get torn apart this afternoon, but the bunch of damp squibs that Chelsea sent out looked like they'd be lucky to get into Europe at the close of play.Defence looked solid, pretty much throughout. I haer they're thinking of sending Torres on loan. Don't think he'd make our starting line up though

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Phew, just got back too! Well we got away with that one didn't we? We're going to regret not getting 3 points today mark my words kiddos! If we can't win all our home and away games we're going to be relegated by February at the latest! Believe me guys I have not been wrong all season..... Well, only every week anyway! Follow the Leg end @Gedward.twit.com

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Went home a very happy boy today, the 100 mile walk back to the ski slope to the car wasn't bad coming back from another bold performance. The atmosphere in the ground was the loudest it's been since the match winner vs Derby last season! And perhaps the loudest OTBC I've heard for all my 10 years as a season ticket holder! Forget how far we've come in 2 years, think of how far we've come in 6 years as a comparison to our last top flight attempt, in which we didn't even have a look in vs Chelsea at home. Great performance, Amazing atmosphere. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Billy

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Like it Dubai - just the right level of sarcasm. Might be a bit beyond some though ... eh Ged?

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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