Chelsea picked up our first away win in the league season thanks to late goals from substitutes Eden Hazard and Willian.
Anthony Pilkington’s close-range header had deservedly levelled things up for Norwich midway through the second half, Oscar having given the Blues a very early lead.
Demba Ba was a constant thorn in the Norwich backline but couldn’t add to our lead in the opening 45 minutes, and we were punished when Pilkington nodded home after getting ahead of David Luiz.
Willian scored his first goal for Chelsea after Hazard had put us back ahead, the Brazilian’s glorious, curling effort a fitting way to mark his first goal for the club.
Jose Mourinho was forced into one change from the side that won so impressively in Bucharest in midweek, with Ba replacing the suspended Fernando Torres.
Juan Mata was selected to start his first Premier League game since the defeat at Everton three weeks ago, while Andre Schurrle kept his place in the three behind Ba. Hazard was deemed fit to take his place on the bench.
For Norwich, Chris Hughton was able to call upon the services of captain Sebastien Bassong again after the central defender missed last Sunday’s win at Stoke. Otherwise the Canaries were unchanged from that victory.
It was Chelsea making the early running and Ba was denied what looked like a clear penalty after wrestling with Bassong in the fourth minute. The Blues weren’t to be denied moments later, however. A lovely long pass from Frank Lampard picked out the striker again and his touch was perfect, controlling and turning in one movement. Oscar was the beneficiary of the Senegalese’s hard work, picking the ball up and guiding his effort beyond John Ruddy with the outside of his right boot.
Ashley Cole needed to be on his toes to end a threatening break from the home side after Ramires was dispossessed, but in truth it was still very much Chelsea dictating the play.
The Brazilian midfielder, darting from deep, then picked out Mata 25 yards from goal. The Spaniard feigned to shoot but instead slid Ba through on goal. The striker’s effort looked destined for the same far corner that Oscar had picked out but this time Ruddy was able to get his fingertips to the ball. David Luiz’s volley from the resulting corner lacked the requisite power to really trouble the England goalkeeper.
We were looking dangerous when at our most direct, and another long ball, this time from John Terry, caused more havoc in the Norwich box. Under pressure from Ba, and with the sun in his eyes, Ruddy couldn’t make the catch but our striker’s attempt on the turn wasn’t well-directed enough to beat the recovering Bassong. Oscar was perhaps better-placed but you couldn’t blame the striker for trying to score the goal his start had merited.
Norwich hadn’t offered much by way of an attacking threat up to this point but Petr Cech was called into action for the first time midway through the half, blocking David Luiz’s clearance past the post after good work down the left by Robert Snodgrass and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Schurrle fired over after cutting inside on to his favoured right foot, before Ba again distracted Ruddy into a mistake. On this occasion the keeper recovered well to thwart our striker rolling the ball into the vacant net.
We were full value for our half-time lead and the only disappointment was that we hadn’t managed to add to it, with Ba in particular unfortunate not to add his name to the scoresheet.
Chelsea started the second period as we had the first, well on top. Excellent link up between Schurrle and Ramires created space for the latter, whose superb cross found the unmarked Ba, but the striker could only flick wide of Ruddy’s goal.
Norwich had claims for a penalty after Ramires and Anthony Pilkington came together in the box, but referee Swarbrick nor his assistant saw enough in the challenge to warrant a foul.
The Norwich supporters were cheering every decision by Swarbrick in their favour now and they demanded another penalty from the man in the middle after Van Wolfswinkel went down under pressure from Terry, but the ref correctly called that our skipper had got the ball first.
Terry needed to be at his best again soon after to deny Van Wolfswinkel a clear shooting opportunity, before Oscar wildly thumped high and wide after good approach play from Mata and Ashley Cole.
By now Norwich were the first to loose balls, winning more tackles and pressuring the visitors into more mistakes. Their impressive second-half performance was rewarded in the 67th minute. Van Wolfswinkel beat Terry in the air and Pilkington’s movement was too quick for David Luiz, the winger nudging the ball past Cech from barely five yards out.
Mourinho responded to the leveller by bringing on Eto’o and the fit-again Hazard, for Ba and Cole respectively. Schurrle dropped to left-back as the manager reshaped in search of a winner.
Ivanovic almost struck that desired goal from range but found Ruddy in good form, and in the next move Hazard dragged his short wide after controlling well inside the box. Mourinho then replaced Mata with Willian on 80.
Chris Hughton had made changes of his own and it was a Norwich substitute, Nathan Redmond, who stung Cech’s palms with an angled drive barely 60 seconds after coming on.
From a Norwich corner, Chelsea broke and regained the lead. Good headers from Ivanovic, Hazard and Willian released Oscar on the counter-attack. The retreating Bassong made a hash of cutting out the Brazilian’s pass, instead setting the ball up for Hazard. His shot slipped under Ruddy and rolled over the line, despite the recovering keeper’s efforts to claw it out.
Within a minute we had a third. Eto’o was dispossessed, the ball falling to Willian on the right-hand corner of the box. The Brazilian’s finish was sumptuous, curling the ball back across the goal into Ruddy’s top corner. It was a special way for the summer signing to score his first goal for the Blues.
Mourinho’s substitutions since Norwich’s leveller had decisively swung the game back in our favour, with a Lampard free-kick – pushed round the post by Ruddy – the final action of a game that at one point looked like the Blues had let slip through our grasp.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c), Cole (Hazard 74); Ramires, Lampard; Mata (Willian 80), Oscar, Schurrle; Ba (Eto’o 72).
Unused subs Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Essien.
Scorers Oscar 3, Hazard 84, Willian 85
Booked Oscar 61
Norwich City (4-3-3): Ruddy; Martin, Bassong (c), Turner, Olsson; Howson, Tettey, Fer; Pilkington, Snodgrass (Redmond 80), van Wolfswinkel (Hooper 72).
Unused subs Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, Elmander, R Bennett.
Scorer Pilkington 67
Booked Tettey 68
Referee Neil Swarbrick