Norwich City-Chelsea Preview
Whilst Chelsea are looking to finish among the top four in the Premier League table, last-place Norwich City have only pride to play for now that their relegation fate has been sealed.
The Blues look to rebound from a rough outing when they try to hand visiting Norwich an eighth straight league defeat on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge.
Though a Premier League title is out of reach for Chelsea (18-6-11) this season, a top-four finish and Champions League berth is still in the cards. However, Leicester City, Manchester United and even Wolves and Sheffield United also join the Blues in the quest for the third and fourth spots behind Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively.
Chelsea, who are also alive in the FA Cup and Champions League for 2020, did not help their cause with a 3-0 loss at Sheffield on Saturday. The loss was just the Blues' second league setback in the last nine contests and first time during that span in which they were blanked.
"It's disappointing for us to drop points at this late stage, but we can't let it affect us too much," budding star Tammy Abraham, who has a team-high 16 goals over all competitions in 2019-20, told Chelsea's official website. "We have important games ahead so we just have to go out there and every one of them.
"We have to be ready. We have great sides coming up, so we have to put (the Sheffield) game to bed and go again. Take the confidence from the season we've had and go into these games with full confidence. It's all about our reaction in the next game now."
On paper, the Blues are massive favorites against Norwich (5-6-24), whom they beat 3-2 thanks to an Abraham brace during the reverse fixture from Aug. 24.
The Canaries were officially branded with relegation down to the Championship following Saturday's dismal 4-0 loss to West Ham United. Norwich, whose most recent league victory came 1-0 versus Leicester City on Feb. 28, have been outscored 20-2 during their current 1-1-9 stretch and managed one goal during their seven-match top-flight losing streak.
"It's not unexpected that we relegate from this league," manager Daniel Farke told Norwich's official website. "Once it's theoretically confirmed, it's of course a sad day."
Despite the disappointment and overall sadness of the situation that's unfolded during this unique campaign for Norwich, Farke won't throw his side under the bus. Norwich, who beat Manchester City earlier in the season, struggled with depth, especially as the season went on, thus hindering their offensive approach.
"You won't hear one negative word or comment about my lads," Farke added. "They are brilliant lads and in each and every game, they tried everything in order to bring their best performance onto the pitch.
"Right now, the target will be that we come back to the Premier League sooner rather than later."
One of the few bright spots on Norwich's season has been Finnish forward Teemu Pukki, who has a team-high 11 league goals. He recorded a goal with an assist versus Chelsea in August, but has gone without either over his last 11 top-flight matches.
Updated July 12, 2020