Chelsea’s 7-goal rout at Norwich without Lukaku or Werner shows incredible depth from Tuchel’s side

It only took seven minutes to dismiss this as a potential banana peel for Chelsea. The crowd at Stamford Bridge had just settled in as Mason Mount opened the scoring for Thomas Tuchel’s side. From there it was one-sided domination, as Chelsea sounded a wake-up call in the Premier League title race with a comfortable 7-0 win over a dismal Norwich City side in a win that further underscored their strength in depth.

Without injured Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic, Tuchel told his makeshift roster they had to ‘step up’ to fill the void on Saturday midday after a series of Premier League games in which Chelsea looked vulnerable at times . Kai Havertz started off as a No.9 scythe with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mount dovetailed on either side, but it was an all-round performance for Chelsea, who played with breadth and commanded all facets of the game.

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The only thing missing was a goal from Havertz, the day Hudson-Odoi and Mount got their Premier League debut this season. Mount finished with a hat trick – his wonderful low shot from outside the box to open the scoring, a penalty recovered from Tim Krul’s encroachment for a save on the first attempt, then a tap-in. for his third and Chelsea’s seventh in stoppage time.

Norwich’s only moments of consistency came from their traveling support as their side were pushed and pulled all over by reverse wingers and Chelsea full-backs. Ben Chilwell and Hudson-Odoi spun Ozan Kabak in the turf to Chelsea’s left, while Reece James and Mount’s dominance in the first half was such that Norwich boss Daniel Farke made big changes to the break on that side. With Chelsea already 3-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, these substitutions failed to stem the tide, as Chilwell’s clinical strike, a goal against his camp from Max Aarons, the penalty picked up from Mount and his late third added to Norwich’s woes, having sent off Ben Gibson for two warnings in the 65th minute.

It was a comfortable victory for Chelsea in a performance more reminiscent of the breadth shown at the start of Tuchel’s reign, but it was the next step in their evolution with an interchangeable formation, as traditional full-backs James and Chilwell have sometimes played. through the center as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic dominated the midfield, grabbing points from Mount and Hudson-Odoi behind with great effect as Havertz’s move caused all kinds of trouble for Norwich center-backs. The Chelsea press were claustrophobic and Norwich were limited to half a chance which was stifled by the quick wit of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Havertz’s leading role was one of the pre-game talking points, but he passed that test. Havertz has had a strange time since scoring this Champions League final winner. His performances for Germany this summer suggested he would attack the Premier League this season, but it was a stammered start. Tuchel suggested earlier in the week ahead of their 4-0 Champions League win over Malmö that Havertz lacked “assists, goals and assists stats” and would need to “fight to get back into the squad. “. Next came Lukaku’s ankle injury and Werner’s hamstring, and Havertz was the man tasked with keeping Chelsea’s Premier League bid on track.

While we were still waiting for him to respond to Tuchel’s challenge to bolster his offensive strength, he would have seen how Havertz’s move gave Grant Hanley a scorching scorching afternoon, falling deep and then making room for Mount and Hudson-Odoi charge. He failed to breach the scoreboard and only had two shots, but his presence created space for his cohorts to exploit. Tuchel sees Havertz as a hybrid striker, somewhere between a No 9 and a No 10, but it was a game in which the player and the manager would have learned a lot and give them a chance to develop further.

While Havertz failed to score goals, Mount and Hudson-Odoi opened their respective accounts for the season. Hudson-Odoi was another player challenged pre-game by Tuchel to answer the call, and he was lethal in his privileged position up front on the left. Deployed by Tuchel as a right-winger last season, Hudson-Odoi seemed more settled on Norwich’s right side, and he rose to the challenge with a wonderfully grabbed strike in the first half, thanks to the precise through ball from Kovacic, and also featured prominently in the buildup of James’ delicious scaly finish. Tuchel has said he needs around 250 games to prove a point, and this game will only be judged for its importance in the seasons to come. But on a day when Chelsea needed the job done, supporting cast stepped up to replace missing protagonists.

And then there was Mount, who left with the match ball. His relief was palpable after dismissing Chelsea, then he returned to familiar life, pulling the strings in midfield and rushing for his two late goals. If Mount was one of the players challenged by Tuchel to step up, then the coach will be delighted with his player’s reaction: Tuchel said after the match: “[Mount] play a little more freedom in the last few matches, that’s what we need. He is very competitive and serious about his goals that he wants to achieve. I see him a little lighter now and it means a lot to him that he has a hat trick under his belt. “

The inclusion of once-forgotten players such as Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger is further proof of Tuchel’s ability to get the best out of everyone at Chelsea. Teemu Pukki is going to have a hard time getting out of Rudiger’s pocket after this game. This in-depth strength was further underscored by Tuchel’s second-half substitutions, as those players on loan last season were used to see the game. Mount found himself in the false No.9 spot, with Barkley – who was refused by Krul as the goalkeeper valiantly tried to stem the tide – on the left and Hakim Ziyech on the right. It was an unknown lineup, but there was no respite in the intensity or creativity as Chelsea kept their foot on the accelerator.

“I don’t want to get carried away too much,” Tuchel said. “We have played four times in a row as favorites, and I like the humble approach and [to] set our own standards. We push each other and play all-in, without being distracted from the road. This is the most important and anything is possible. If you are lucky and have more luck, you become more confident. We are able to score four or seven goals, which is good. There will be other matches closer and [we will] prepare for it when it happens. “

It was a game in which Chelsea faced their absent staff comfortably, against a poor Norwich side. But it also showcased Chelsea’s title credentials and, more importantly, allowed players to rediscover form and confidence. As the afternoon progressed, it could hardly have gone better for the home team.

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