By Gary Watton
January 17 2018
Well that was one way of progressing to the fourth round. Impotent Chelsea contrived to deliver only one goal in two hours at home to mediocre Norwich City and consequently were subjected to the ordeal of penalty kicks, when they ought to have put the contest to bed long before. It's not that the hosts were woeful, because they were not. However, the visitors produced another well-marshalled display of packing their defence and proving troublesome on the counter. In fact, the home team were receiving a dose of their own medicine. Frankly speaking, Norwich deserved that last-gasp equaliser, because they made a big contribution to a compelling contest.
Kenedy, the human tattoo, was arguably the pick of the bunch. At least Jermaine Jenas thought so too. Even Bakayoko had something akin to a commanding performance. Zappacosta put in a reasonable shift too, while young Ampadu looked really solid and is a magnificent prospect. Batshuayi, who often cuts an anxious and frustrated figure, managed to finally break Chelsea's goal drought with an effort from close range, after Kenedy had provided the assist.
Unfortunately, the league champions' performance descended into farce in deepest extra time when first Pedro and then his compatriot Morata both got sent off. Pedro had previously been guilty of a horrendous dive in the penalty area. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that these two Spanish muppets were removed from the fray, as they probably would have missed their penalties anyway.
In the end, Chelsea achieved a rare penalty shoot-out success, courtesy of a series of immaculate penalties from Willian, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Kante, and Hazard. Caballero saved their first spot kick, and Chelsea were able to emerge as winners by the narrowest of margins. Maybe they might up their game and score a few goals for the visit of Newcastle United in the next round. Then again, pigs might fly.
CHELSEA 1 Norwich City 1 after extra time; half time: 0-0; CHELSEA won 5-3 on penalties.
CHELSEA goal scorer: Batshuayi
CHELSEA: Caballero; Luiz; Ampadu; Zappacosta; Azpilicueta; Bakayoko; Drinkwater; Kenedy; Pedro; Willian; Batshuayi. Used substitutes: Morata; Christensen; Kante; Hazard
CHELSEA leading scorers:
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