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Chelsea’s Rout of Norwich Quashes Talk of Striker Crisis

Chelsea’s Rout of Norwich Quashes Talk of Striker Crisis

Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 16:30
Chelsea’s Reece James celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP)

Chelsea displayed no sign of missing injured strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner as they thrashed Norwich City 7-0 on Saturday in a performance that underscored how coach Thomas Tuchel is getting the very best from his table-topping squad.

Mason Mount took full advantage of his first Premier League start in more than a month by racking up a hat-trick.

Wing backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell, both of whom have been in and out of the side this season, scored a goal each.

And Callum Hudson-Odoi repaid Tuchel for recalling him by getting on the score sheet too.

The emphatic nature of Chelsea’s win, albeit against the Premier League’s bottom club, came after they lost Lukaku and Werner to injury in the space of 20 minutes in a midweek Champions League win over Malmo.

Some observers said the double injury blow showed Chelsea had been unwise to sell strikers Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud over the summer and let Michy Batshuayi leave on loan.

Tuchel had demanded before the Norwich game that his players “step up” in the absence of Lukaku and Werner and he was lavish in his praise after the final whistle.

“I am very happy with the performance and very happy with the intensity and very happy with the effort that we put into this game,” he told reporters. “There is no holding back. We play ‘all in’ and that is what I like a lot.”

The win also threw down the gauntlet to the Londoners’ rivals in the title race.

Second-placed Liverpool, who were a point behind the Blues going into the weekend, will lose more ground if they fail to beat northern rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Manchester City, who sit third, face in-form Brighton & Hove Albion later on Saturday.

Chelsea’s next league games are against Newcastle United and Burnley, both of whom are currently stuck in the relegation area along with Norwich, potentially giving the Blues a chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table.

As well as their ruthless attacking performance on Saturday, they kept another of the clean sheets that have become a signature of Tuchel’s Chelsea since he replaced Frank Lampard as coach in January.

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