Norwich City once again find themselves deep in a relegation scrap after a disastrous start to 2016 has seen them pick up just four league points.
The Canaries have lost six of their last seven Premier League games and remain above the dreaded drop zone on goal difference.
However, after leaking ten goals in their last three home matches, they are hanging onto that goal difference by the skin of their teeth. The Yellows’ defence may once again be without Cameroon centre-half Sebastian Bassong. He, along with their longest serving player Wes Hoolahan, both missed Saturday’s gut-wrenching defeat to Leicester and the pair will be assessed prior to kick off.
The Canaries have enjoyed fewer touches in the opposition penalty area than any other team this season, with goals coming at a premium. Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford will be unable to have any impact on that stat as he is ineligible to face his former club.
Though Norwich have looked far from threatening in recent weeks, manager Alex Neil has promised fans his side will not hold back against The Blues, “There is no point us dipping our toes in the water and being a bit cagey and hoping we see things out. We need to go and attack it.”
Speaking to reporters at his pre-match press conference, the Glaswegian remained defiant: “Are you going to roll over and give up? We're fighting for our lives and we want to stay in the Premier League. A win changes everything.”
Norwich may be buoyed by the news that John Terry remains sidelined, whilst Chelsea, unbeaten in the league under Guus Hiddink, will also be without Pedro, who suffered a hamstring strain in the last weekend’s victory over Southampton.
Radamel Falcao and Kurt Zouma are still nursing long term injuries although January signing Alexandre Pato may make his Premier League debut in place of Diego Costa, who Hiddink has suggested could be rested: “He (Pato) is eager and of course we now have healthy competition between the strikers, in a very good atmosphere, but Diego is the number one.”
The omens are not good for Norwich City. In the previous nine Premier League fixtures between the two, Chelsea have won seven and lost none. Meanwhile, the Canaries have scored just two goals in their last six games against their opponents. Steven Naismith may provide some hope however. The Scotsman has six goals in seven against Chelsea, including a sumptuous hat-trick for Everton earlier in the season.
The two sides last met in November, with Chelsea taking the spoils 1-0 courtesy of a Diego Costa goal in what was Jose Mourinho’s last Premier League win.