Juan Mata’s wonder goal secured a third successive league win for the Blues, but they remain 11 points off leaders Manchester United with a game in hand. It was The Special Juan’s 13th of the season and the midfielder is the Chelsea’s top scorer ahead of Torres. He is also a leading candidate to be the PFA’s Footballer of the Year.
His goal yesterday at Carrow Road was a joy to behold. He curled the ball home from close to 30 yards out, leaving Norwich boss Chris Hughton to say- “Mata’s had an incredible season. He’s been outstanding.”
After the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, this was quite an anti-climax, with precious few chances to excite fans. Norwich, in fact, did not force Petr Cech into a single save. David Luiz, playing in midfield, set Mata free in the box in the 30th minute, but the Spaniard could not quite get his feet planted and he scuffed a left-foot shot into the sidenetting.
Norwich keeper Mark Bunn had to scramble the ball away with his body in the 49th minute after Victor Moses met Oscar’s corner with a glancing header. Moses forced the keeper into another save soon after from another tight angle on the left. Mata also tried to catch out Bunn with a quick free-kick, but the keeper darted across in time to deny him.
Moses then drove just wide with his right foot when he might have done better and Bunn did well near the end to keep out an Eden Hazard shot, after the Belgium star was played in by Fernando Torres. There was a bit of late pressure from the Canaries, with Ashley Cole having to clear hastily and Sebastien Bassong heading into the ground and over the bar in the final minutes. Benitez, who sent on Lampard as a late substitute, was delighted with Mata’s efforts in his 50th League game for Chelsea – a spell which has seen him contribute 13 goals and 20 assists.
“Mata is very dangerous getting into the box and also outside the box, so we are very pleased with him. He is in form and doing really well. Even without the ball he is working really hard and when we are in possession he is making a difference. These kind of players can make a difference. He is clever and has clever movements. He can play deeper, go to the right into spaces, and that is hard for the midfielders and defenders to manage. He is a player who has mobility. The Premier League has a lot of good players and Mata is one of the best, for sure.” said Rafa Benitez.
Reports are saying that the Stamford Bridge hierarchy have decided they can do without Lampard from next month onwards, rather than at the end of the season when his contract is due to expire.
- Norwich 0 Chelsea 1: Juan Mata scores winner at Carrow Road (dailymail.co.uk)
- Norwich City 0 Chelsea 1: match report (telegraph.co.uk)
- Mata fires Chelsea to victory (standard.co.uk)
- Live Sport Reports: Mata fires Chelsea to victory (walesonline.co.uk)
- Don’t panic! Hughton looks on the bright side after Chelsea end Norwich’s unbeaten run (mirror.co.uk)