Chelsea v Norwich: Strong Blues line-up to win with ease

Mike fancies Willian to get on the scoresheet against Norwich on Wednesday
Mike fancies Willian to get on the scoresheet against Norwich on Wednesday
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It's a game that Chelsea could have done without given their busy schedule, but they'll be out to get the job done with the minimum of fuss when Norwich visit Stamford Bridge says Mike Norman, and our man is betting accordingly...

"Assuming he starts then Willian looks a great price to get on the scoresheet at 2/1 on the Sportsbook. The 29-year-old is enjoying a fine season and has scored five goals in his last eight appearances when starting the game from the outset."

Chelsea v Norwich
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on BBC1

Chelsea's stars not at the peak of their powers

Fatigue was cited as one of the main reasons for Chelsea's lacklustre performance against Leicester on Saturday, which ended with the Blues recording three consecutive goalless draws for the first time in their history.

It's undoubtedly a busy time of the season but it's hard to see why Chelsea's players should be any more tired than any of their recent opponents. Norwich had played the same amount of games in the same space of time as Antonio Conte's men when they held the Blues to a 0-0 draw 10 days ago, and so too had Arsenal when they met in the EFL Cup last week.

A bigger factor as to Chelsea's disappointing recent results is surely the lack of form shown by some of their star players, notably Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata. Conte's men registered no fewer than 54 shots at goal in their three recent draws with a very impressive 20 of them being on target. They did enough to win all three games but simply couldn't put the ball in the net.

It suggests to me that Chelsea aren't too overly tired, and that a peak form Morata (no goals in his last five games) and/or Hazard (just one goal in 10 outings) would be all that is needed to see the Blues return to winning ways.


Canaries in good form but hit by big-name departures

Norwich will arrive at Stamford Bridge in decent shape having won three and drawn one of their last four Championship games, including Saturday's excellent 1-0 win at promotion-chasing Bristol City.

Daniel Farke's men have in fact conceded just one goal in their last five outings and have kept three consecutive clean sheets away from home, so they shouldn't lack for confidence when travelling to the capital on Wednesday night.

But departures and injuries mean the Canaries squad is pretty thin on the ground currently; star man Alex Pritchard has joined Premier League outfit Huddersfield, while experienced defender and captain Russell Martin is on the verge of joining Glasgow Rangers.

And it's perhaps worth pointing out that prior to their recent mini revival Farke's men were in dire form, picking up just five points from a possible 30 in the Championship thanks to losing seven out of 10 games including four consecutive defeats on the road.


Safe passage to round four awaits hosts

If tiredness is genuinely the reason behind Chelsea's recent winless run then surely Conte will make wholesale changes for the visit of Norwich in this FA Cup third round replay.

But making changes probably means that the likes of Andrea Christensen, David Luiz, Danny Drinkwater, Davide Zappacosta, Willian, and Pedro all come into the starting XI, while Cesc Fabregas and Hazard - who were withdrawn with over 30 minutes remaining on Saturday - are likely to play some part if needed.

In other words, this isn't going to be a weak Chelsea starting line-up, and odds of around [1.29] for them to win the game are fully justified, and more importantly, should easily be landed.

Norwich can be backed at [13.0] to produce a shock, with the Draw currently trading at [6.6], but I'm far more interested in backing the hosts to win with ease than anything else; they should be far too strong for their lower league opponents.

Despite failing to convert one of their many chances you never felt for one moment that Chelsea were in any danger at Carrow Road in the original tie, and now with home advantage I can see Conte's men running out comfortable winners as they try to book a fourth round tie at home to Newcastle as quickly as possible.

On the Betfair Sportsbook we can back Chelsea -1 at 4/5 and that looks like a bet well worth having.


Willian to have a good night

Assuming he starts then Willian looks a great price to get on the scoresheet at 2/1 on the Sportsbook. The 29-year-old is enjoying a fine season and has scored five goals in his last eight appearances when starting the game from the outset.

In addition to his fine goalscoring record when starting Willian is a fantastic free-kick taker so he should have at least a few chances from dead-ball situations with the belief that Chelsea will be very much on the front foot and the game will be played in and around Norwich's box.


Take a chance on a big home win

Chelsea's lack of recent goals will hopefully push the price out on a big home win, so keep an eye out on the Correct Score market where I'm hoping to get matched at around the [4.8] mark about the Any Other Home Win option.

For the bet to land we require Chelsea to win the game by scoring at least four goals in the process, which is a distinct possibility if they start well.

The Canaries' away form in general isn't great; Farke's men have conceded four at Villa, four at Millwall, and three at Cardiff in the Championship this term, and you sense that Chelsea, who'll want to put this game to bed as early as possible, could score a similar amount if able to convert some of the many chances they'll surely create.


Mike's Individual Match Preview P/L (all competitions)

Staked: 34 pts
Returned: 59.42 pts
P/L: +25.42 pts

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