No Goals for Chelsea or Torres

Torres misses more chances and Chelsea miss the chance to drag themselves back into the title race

No Goals for Chelsea or Torres
Reuters Pictures

In a week where once again his future was the subject of much speculation, Fernando Torres did little at Carrow Road to ensure that his destiny lies with Chelsea. With claims that he has been offered to other European teams and suggestions that Didier Drogba may join Nicolas Anelka in China, this game offered Torres a brilliant opportunity to show he is ready to lead the line for Chelsea. However the Spanish striker failed to grasp the chance with either hand. His time at Chelsea has been a tragicomedy, characterised by elements of the sublime and ridiculous and his performance today was a microcosm of all that has befallen him during his Chelsea career.

Norwich had failed to keep a clean sheet all season but keeper John Ruddy was in a defiant mood and Chelsea just couldn't find a way past him. He made a fantastic fingertip save from Torres's clipped shot mid way through the second half. That was Torres's moment of sublime and following the pattern of his Chelsea career the ridiculous couldn't be far away. Sure enough it arrived in the second half. Firstly he blazed the ball over when it would probably been easier to score but worse was to follow. The ball dropped kindly at his feet eight yards from goal and all Torres had to do was direct it into the goal but he toe poked it agonisingly wide. His frsutration and disappointment were compounded when he was replaced by 18 year old Romelu Lukaka with 14 minutes still to play. Torres has now gone 17 games without scoring.

With the top three not in action until tomorrow, Chelsea had the opportunity to make up ground in the title race but the Londoners slipped up badly. Their failure to make inroads in the title race was not entirely down to their own ineptitude. Norwich were defiant in defence and were dangerous on the break, especially in the first half when they created several chances. Top scorer and captain Gavin Holt was industrious and troubled Chelsea throughout. They started brightly and Petr Cech had to parry a shot from Pilkington inside the first ten minutes. The Canaries exposed Chelsea's defensive frailties minutes later, as Steve Morison slipped past David Luiz but pulled his shot wide. Chelsea lost Frank Lampard before the break to a calf injury. The midfielder was replaced by Florent Malouda.

The first half was an evenly contested affair but Chelsea took control after the break and Ruddy had to make a Norwich were denied a penalty for what appeared to be a handball by Meireles on the edge of the box. Juan Mata again was Chelsea's brightest creative spark. Since signing from Valencia in August Mata has consistently lit up Chelsea's attack and he was again the star performer for the Blues. He darted and weaved his way through Norwich's defence and Ruddy had to be at his athletic best to deny him on several occasions. Despite the pressure from Mata and his teammates, Norwich showed the resolve and determination embodied by their goalkeeper to deny Chelsea victory and record their first clean sheet of the season. It was richly deserved.

With both Manchester teams and Spurs playing tomorrow Chelsea remain ten points behind City and any title aspirations they once held appear to have long since evaporated along with Torres's confidence and goals. The question on everyone's lips afterwards was where now for Chelsea and Fernando Torres?