In what was an intense encounter for Chelsea at Carrow Road, 19 year old Brazilian, Kenedy, gave the Blues an early goal to settle some nerves.
Early is an understatement, actually. The teenager scored in 45 seconds to be precise, which is the West London club’s fastest goal in 12 years.
The make-shift back line, which saw Kenedy fill in at left-back, endured a bombardment of Norwich attacks in the following 10 minutes, as the Canaries tried to find a way back into the game.
Bertrand Traore almost added to his impressive goals per game ratio as sloppy defending from the home side allowed him through on goal after a great burst of speed, only to be let down by a poor touch.
Diego Costa chipped over a stranded John Ruddy in first half stoppage time, and the Blues’ had a comfortable cushion to take into the second half.
Cameron Jerome was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the night. If it were not for dreadful finishing, the striker could’ve had four or five.
The Chelsea defence finally crumbled in the 68th minute, as Wesley Hoolahan passed into Nathan Redmond for what can only be described as a simple finish.
In typical Chelsea style, the bus was parked, and the game ended 1-2 in favour of the Blues’. But what can we take from the game?
Hiddink is keen to allow the younger players to express themselves. Kenedy was started at left-back ahead of Baba Rahman. Kenedy’s versatility allows him to play anywhere down the left channel. He was creative, impressive and most of all effective for Chelsea in attack and defence, not to mention the brilliant goal he scored.
Traore was similarly as impressive, proving he is a worthy rotation play in the absence of Willian. For the hour he played, he was a constant threat, always looking to cut onto his powerful left foot. Chelsea’s abundance of wingers will make game time hard to come by, but his performance last night definitely did him no harm.
Signs of the old Chelsea?
Frank Lampard said earlier this week that he was worried Chelsea were ditching their traditional style of play for more attractive football. Perhaps that was true under Mourinho, but since Hiddink has taken charge, Chelsea have been rock solid at the back. A quick counter attacking goal and defending as a unit was key to the Blues’ success in Norwich last night.
By no means has this season been satisfactory, if anything it’s been disappointing, underwhelming, and anti-climatic. Much of this has to be blamed on the player’s resting on their laurels for the first half of the season. An attitude beckoned of “We won the league last year, we have nothing to prove this year.” Guus seems to have changed that stubborn way of thinking and transformed it into something beautiful. A work ethic that had been unmatched since the destruction of the Premier League last year.
Confident, free-flowing, skilful and athletic. All of his traits seem to be coming back to him, except one: his goalscoring ability. Hazard assisted the Kenedy goal and was a threat from the onset and throughout. He may not be back at his best, but rest assured if he finds his old scoring-form that essentially won Chelsea the league last year, there is no denying he will be back to his best.
What. A. Manager. I speak for every Chelsea fan when I say I was pleased with his appointment of interim manager when Mourinho left, but I will be absolutely gutted when he leaves in May.
Abramovich did the right thing in giving him time to assess Mourinho’s successor. Hiddink returned to London for his second spell as Chelsea manager after a successful first term back in ’09. The Dutchman has all the tools to fix Chelsea’s woeful season, and has deployed them in great fashion thus far. I would love for Hiddink to stay at the Bridge, but if he doesn’t want to, we have no say.
Let me know your thoughts on feelings on the Chelsea team as of late. You can find me on Twitter @JournoAdam1.