Chelsea are out of the Champions League, but Kevin Hatchard believes they will keep their Premier League hopes alive by thrashing a Norwich side destined for relegation...
"Norwich have been thrashed 4-1 at Arsenal, demolished 7-0 at Manchester City, humiliated 5-1 at Liverpool, and hammered 4-0 at Manchester United."
Chelsea v Norwich
Live on Sky Sports 1
Match Odds: Chelsea 1.222/9, Norwich 17.5, the draw 7.613/2
Chelsea's dreams of a second Champions League success in three seasons were stamped on by Atletico Madrid in midweek, but after their stoic 2-0 victory at Liverpool last weekend, the possibility of reclaiming the Premier League title still exists. With games against relegation-zone dwellers Norwich and Cardiff to come, the Blues can at least do their part, and hope for mistakes from their title rivals. At time of writing, Chelsea are 19.5 in the Premier League Winner market.
Mourinho's much-vaunted unbeaten home record in the Premier League was recently trashed by Sunderland, but Chelsea's Premier League results at Stamford Bridge have generally been exceptional. In the other 17 home games they have played, they have won 15 and drawn two. No team has conceded fewer league goals at home than Chelsea's tally of 11, and Mourinho's men average 2.39 goals scored per game on their own turf.
So can Norwich follow Sunderland's example and secure a shock win? In a word, no. The Norwich City fans I know have been telling me the club would be relegated for months now, even before the five-match losing run which has seen them slide into the dropzone.
Manager Chris Hughton was jettisoned in favour of Neil Adams, presumably to put a new voice in the dressing room. Unfortunately for the Canaries, the players still aren't listening. Although they showed plenty of fight in Adams' first two games in charge (a 1-0 loss at Fulham and a 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool), they were utterly abject in last week's 4-0 thumping at Manchester United. Short of having "Congratulations on your new job, Ryan!" emblazoned on their shirts, they couldn't have been more accommodating to United's caretaker boss Ryan Giggs on his debut. Opta tell us that reverse at Old Trafford was their eighth consecutive away defeat in the league.
Mourinho has publicly slapped down Eden Hazard, after the Belgian criticised his tactics after the Atletico defeat. It remains to be seen whether Mourinho will punish the former Lille star by sticking him on the bench. Apart from suffering a broken heart, John Terry came through the Atleti match unscathed, but Petr Cech is unlikely to feature because of a damaged shoulder. All-action midfielder Ramires is still suspended. Oscar and Samuel Eto'o hope to shake off minor knocks.
Norwich will make a late decision on the fitness of veteran defender Joseph Yobo, but winger Anthony Pilkington is likely to miss out, as a hip injury has kept him out of training all week.
I'm completely convinced that Chelsea will win this game. Yes, they have suffered recent home defeats to Sunderland and Atletico (fear of red and white stripes?), but Norwich have been feeble in recent weeks. However, there seems little point in recommending an outright home win at 1.222/9.
One way to boost that price is to back Chelsea on the Asian Handicap -2.0 at 2.0811/10, which will return your stake if Chelsea win by two goals, and will pay out if Chelsea win by more. In 25 home games this term, Chelsea have won five times by a two-goal margin, and five times by a bigger margin. In 21 away games, Norwich have lost by a two-goal margin on four occasions, and suffered a heavier defeat eight times.
Norwich have been particularly dreadful away to the Premier League's strongest sides this season. They were thrashed 4-1 at Arsenal, demolished 7-0 at Manchester City, humiliated 5-1 at Liverpool, and hammered 4-0 at Manchester United. Ye Gods, they even lost 4-1 at Aston Villa, and that takes some doing. Norwich have conceded more goals on the road than any other team in the division, with 44 goals shipped. All of this is compelling evidence to back Any Unquoted in the Correct Score market at 3.55/2. If Chelsea score four goals or more (or, ahem, if Norwich do), then you have a winner on your hands.
Chelsea Clean Sheet?
No team in the Premier League has scored fewer goals than Norwich (28), and they haven't netted away from home since the middle of March. Indeed, in all competitions the Canaries have failed to score in six of their last ten road games. If you combine those stats with the fact Chelsea have kept five shut-outs in their last seven games, then backing Yes in the Chelsea Clean Sheet? market at 1.845/6 starts to make a lot of sense.
Back Any Unquoted in the Correct Score market at 3.55/2
Back Chelsea -2.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.0811/10
Back Yes in the Chelsea Clean Sheet? market at 1.845/6
Kevin is a Premier League and Bundesliga commentator for talkSPORT and TuneIn Radio, you can follow him on Twitter @kevinhatchard