Premier League
ChelseaChelsea1NorwichNorwich City0

Chelsea 1-0 Norwich City

By Phil DawkesBBC Sport
Diego Costa scores for Chelsea
Diego Costa scores his fourth goal of the season for Chelsea

Chelsea recorded their first win in four Premier League matches as Diego Costa ended a seven-game goal drought to give them victory over Norwich.

The champions came into the game off the back of a three-match losing streak and were frustrated for an hour by a stubborn display from the Canaries.

But the Blues finally broke through when Costa finished off Cesc Fabregas' quickly taken free-kick.

The home side were denied a second when Kurt Zouma's flick hit the crossbar.

But the three points take precedence over the size of the scoreline for Jose Mourinho's side, who now have 14 points from 13 games and move ahead of Saturday's opponents into 15th place in the table.

Back to winning ways

Diego Costa goal
Simple but effective: Cesc Fabregas' quickly taken free-kick was finished well by Diego Costa

For the past month, reports have repeatedly suggested that Blues manager Mourinho was one defeat away from the sack and yet he remains in place, having overseen three league losses in succession.

The Blues' fortunes hit a new low two weeks ago when Marko Arnautovic's goal for Stoke consigned them to a 1-0 defeat as a powerless Mourinho watched on from a hotel room as a result of a stadium ban.

The Portuguese was back in the dug-out for Saturday's match, although he spent much of the game prowling the touchline with a look of increasing concern as his side strove in vein to break down a well-drilled and stubborn City.

It will be heartening to Mourinho that the moment that ultimately won the game came from a link-up so central to last season's title-winning success.

Fabregas - who has yet to hit the heights that saw him provide 18 assists last campaign - took a quick free-kick that caught Norwich out and found Costa. The Spanish international had missed a couple of good chances but made no mistake this time as he cut inside Ryan Bennett and found the far corner of John Ruddy's net.

It was only Costa's fourth goal of the season, following a debut 2014-15 campaign that yielded 20.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho was back in the Chelsea dugout after serving a one-match stadium ban

Hazard warning

Eden Hazard touches
Eden Hazard was heavily involved for Chelsea in a floating number 10 role

Equally as promising for Chelsea was the positive display of Eden Hazard.

The Belgian excelled in a floating number 10 role behind Costa, with Pedro and Willian providing further attacking options from wide positions.

Most of what was positive about the Blues came through the Belgian international, be it driving runs, clever movement or intelligent passes into space.

Twice before the opening goal he used his speed and trickery to drive to the bye-line and provided a low cross between Norwich's defence and keeper.

Had Costa, or one of his fellow Chelsea forwards, been more alert they would have provided a simple finish.

When Hazard left the field to be replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta in the 90th minute, he received a deserved standing ovation.

Canaries lack a cutting edge

John Terry blocks Sebastien Bassong's shot
Norwich have won none and lost seven of the last nine meetings with Chelsea

In their previous away game, Norwich came within a few minutes of earning a point against Manchester City courtesy of a hard-working and disciplined display at the Etihad.

Once again, Alex Neil's men can take pride from the way they competed at one of the league's strongest sides.

They defended resolutely in numbers and broke with intent but lacked the requisite ruthlessness in front of goal when chances came their way.

Nathan Redmond saw an angled shot saved by Asmir Begovic, Dieumerci Mbokani blazed over from the edge of the box and, in the best opportunity of the lot, Sebastien Bassong was denied by a superb diving block from Blues captain John Terry.

The Canaries have now only won one of their last eight games and have not won on their travels since their first away game at Sunderland in August.

Man of the match - Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is congratulated by manager Jose Mourinho after being substituted
Eden Hazard received a standing ovation when he left the field in the 90th minute

What they said

Chelsea boss Mourinho frustrated at manner of win

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: "The only thing we didn't do was score more from the chances we had. We should have scored at least two and breathed easier, but it is difficult for us to score goals and to keep a clean sheet against a team who plays defensively and then has a try in the final few minutes because they had nothing to lose.

"Diego Costa missed two big chances in the first half and if he did not score it would be a big 50 kilo on his back, but he scored and he could breathe easy.

"Now I have two big games to watch - Real Madrid against Barcelona and the Portuguese Cup, so I think I will have a good meal in front of the television."

Chelsea 1-0 Norwich: Alex Neil disappointed with Canaries loss

Norwich manager Alex Neil: "I am disappointed. I thought our players worked really hard, I felt we gave Chelsea very little and we worked really hard.

"We put some fresh legs on as the game went on, and tried to create problems. Arguably we could have done more but I am happy with my players.

"We've done it at Liverpool, at Manchester City and here - gone to the so-called bigger clubs and put on a show. It is just disappointing we had that one lapse of concentration."

The stats you need to know

  • This was only Chelsea's third clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League matches; Norwich have kept just one in their last 17 away from home
  • Diego Costa ended a run of 603 minutes without a goal in all competitions for Chelsea
  • Cesc Fabregas provided his first assist in 10 games for the Blues. This was only his second Premier League assist of the season; eight fewer than he managed after his first 13 Premier League appearances of 2014/15
  • Chelsea's 65% possession figure in this match was their highest in a league match since December 2014

What's next?

Chelsea travel to face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League on Tuesday. The Blues are second in their group, three points behind leaders Porto.

Norwich take on Arsenal at Carrow Road in the Premier League next Sunday.

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Begovic
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 5Zouma
  • 26Terry
  • 16Kenedy
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 21Matic
  • 22WillianBooked at 35minsSubstituted forSantos do Nascimentoat 87'minutes
  • 10E HazardSubstituted forAzpilicuetaat 90+1'minutes
  • 17PedroSubstituted forOscarat 83'minutes
  • 19Diego Costa

Substitutes

  • 7Santos do Nascimento
  • 8Oscar
  • 14Traore
  • 18Remy
  • 24Cahill
  • 27Blackman
  • 28Azpilicueta

Norwich

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Ruddy
  • 3Wisdom
  • 24Bennett
  • 6BassongBooked at 61mins
  • 23OlssonBooked at 69mins
  • 8HowsonSubstituted forHoolahanat 73'minutes
  • 28O'NeilBooked at 47mins
  • 21MulumbuBooked at 31minsSubstituted forDorransat 73'minutes
  • 12Brady
  • 22Redmond
  • 9MbokaniSubstituted forJeromeat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Whittaker
  • 10Jerome
  • 13Rudd
  • 14Hoolahan
  • 18Dorrans
  • 19Lafferty
  • 32Odjidja-Ofoe
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
41,582

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home21
Away4
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home4
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 1, Norwich City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Norwich City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

  4. Post update

    Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. César Azpilicueta replaces Eden Hazard.

  6. Post update

    Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Cameron Jerome (Norwich City).

  8. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. John Ruddy tries a through ball, but Cameron Jerome is caught offside.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Ramires replaces Willian.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Graham Dorrans tries a through ball, but Wes Hoolahan is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Oscar.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Oscar replaces Pedro.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Costa.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Graham Dorrans.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Graham Dorrans replaces Youssouf Mulumbu.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Cameron Jerome replaces Dieumerci Mbokani.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Wes Hoolahan replaces Jonny Howson.

  20. Booking

    Martin Olsson (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester138412820828
2Man Utd138321991027
3Man City1382327131426
4Arsenal1382323111226
5Tottenham1256120101021
6West Ham126332316721
7Everton135532416820
8Southampton135531914520
9Liverpool135531715220
10Crystal Palace126151412219
11Stoke135441112-119
12West Brom135261217-517
13Watford134451214-216
14Swansea133551418-414
15Chelsea134271723-614
16Norwich133371624-812
17Newcastle132471325-1210
18Bournemouth132381427-139
19Sunderland121381326-136
20Aston Villa1312101024-145
View full Premier League table

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