BY PAUL LAGAN
Tammy Abraham hit two goals as a Chelsea top flight striker to secure three vital points as the Londoners won their first league game of the season 3-2 at gutsy Norwich City.
It was boss Frank Lampard’s first victory at the helm of the boys from SW6 and it was well deserved too.
There are concerns at the back, they do concede needless goals, but up front they finally showed a clinical edge that had been lacking in the loss to Manchester United and the draw at home, last week against Leicester City.
Former Pimlico Academy pupil Tammy Abraham scored a wonderful half volley three minutes into the game after excellent set up play by Cesar Azpilicueta on the right pinged the ball to the gleeful striker who struck the low, right-footed drive past Tim Krul from 12 yards out.
It was the 21–year’s old first league goal for the Blues.
But the lead was not to last long. Two minutes later and the visitors were undone when Teemu Pukki teed up Todd Cantwell to slide home from close range.
Both goals were a result of the opposition failing to close down the attacking side.
Frank Lampard had to replace Pedro seconds before the start. The Spain midfielder looked to have injured his right hamstring in the warm-up, Ross Barkley replaced him.
perhaps that upset the midfield dynamic.
But the Blues, struck again on 17 minutes. latching onto a terrible pass out by max Aarons, Jorginho grabbed the ball, passed to Christian Pulisic who slotted to Mason M punt, who took a touch to get into a central position on the edge of the canaries penalty area before smashing the ball past Krul.
The clinical finishing of the Blues was exemplary.
A brilliant deep Emerson cross from the left was met powerfully by in-running Andreas Christensen. But the Dane’s bullet header was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Krul.
But once again, Chelsea’s rearguard let them down and Norwich duly opened them up on 31 minutes to draw level again.
Pukki latched onto a deft pass by the impressive Cantwell and slide the ball across Kepa Arrizabalaga, who, despite getting a touch on the ball could not prevent it nestling into his far side netting.
Kepa made up for it with two fine saves in quick succession.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Chelsea sustained 15 minutes of pressure on the Norwich goal without ever looking like they were going to penetrate the resolute and disciplined efforts of the home side.
But Azpilicueta was denied a penalty when he was kicked on the knee by Marco Stiepermann. Referee martin Atkinson failed to acknowledge any fouls took place, while VAR opted to not review it.
He needs but one chance and it came on 68 minutes – Abraham picked the ball up 35 yards out, took on one defender before planking a beauty of a right-footed pile-driver past Krul to re-establish the Londoners’ lead.
Ben Godfrey then rattled Chelsea’s crossbar as the home side decided that attacking the visitors is actually quite a profitable thing to do.
Lampard replaced Abraham with 15 minutes left for France World Cup winner Olivier Giroud.
VAR again failed to come to the Blues rescue after it decreed that, despite Kurt Zouma tucking home from close range, Giroud had fouled Krul when both going for a lofted ball.
Willian replaced Pulisic with six minutes left on the clock.
The Blues skilfully ran down the clock and not even the addition of an extra five minutes dulled the senses of the players on the pitch or the vocal supporters off the pitch.
Chelsea’s next match is a home league game against Sheffield United, with a Saturday kick-off at 3pm.
Teams: Chelsea; Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Abraham, Barkley, Pulisic
Subs: Caballero, Tomori, Alonso, Willian, Giroud, Batshuayi
Norwich City; Krul, Aaron’s, Godfrey, Hanley, Leitner, Lewis, Cantwell, Buendia, Stiepermann, Trybull, Pukki
Subs: Fahrmann, Byram, Vrancic, Klose, McLean, Tettey, Srbeny
Referee: Martin Atkinson