Norwich 0-0 Chelsea
Fernando Torres endured another miserable day as Norwich frustrated Chelsea to earn a point and further hit the London side's slim title hopes.
Torres, now without a goal in 17 games, went close in an even first half but toe-poked a glorious chance wide as the Blues dominated the second period.
Grant Holt shot narrowly wide for the hosts before the interval.
But goalkeeper John Ruddy had to be in inspired form to help earn his side their first clean sheet of the season.
Ruddy pulled off several classy stops as an increasingly desperate home side battled manfully to keep out the visitors after the break.
With four of the top five meeting on Sunday, the Londoners knew they had a wonderful chance to reduce the 11-point gap on leaders Manchester City.
But Chelsea lacked urgency before half-time, and when they did step up the pace, Ruddy twice saved brilliantly from Juan Mata and also denied Ramires.
Raul Meireles also shot over while Torres squandered the game's best opportunity when he shot wide from 10 yards following great work on the right by Jose Bosingwa.
The outstanding moment and best chance of a first half also fell to the Spaniard when he forced a superb fingertip save from Ruddy.
An incisive counter-attack involving David Luiz, Frank Lampard and Ramires freed Torres but his brilliant, curled effort with the outside of his right foot was just kept out by the home keeper.
Those two chances just about summed up the Spaniard's day and indeed his Chelsea career, brilliant in one moment and woeful the next.
The same cannot be said of the Canaries, who thoroughly deserved a draw for a stirring rearguard performance in which Zak Whitbread and Daniel Ayala were outstanding.
Norwich barely had a touch in the opening five minutes but soon settled and their front duo of Holt and Steve Morison provided a strong goal threat and the hosts were by no means second best in the first period.
Their best opening saw Holt fire narrowly wide after a confident surge forward and brilliant piece of control and pass from Morison.
The lively Anthony Pilkington also twice nearly set up goals, and Bradley Johnson could easily have put City ahead but his shot from the edge of the box deflected off John Terry and into the arms of Petr Cech.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea, who resisted the temptation to include new signing Gary Cahill in their squad, looked to Mata for their creativity and the Spaniard once again did not disappoint.
He teed up several half chances and close calls and also shot over after a mazy 40-yard run and was always involved as Chelsea started to boss possession and create chances at will after the break.
But despite racking up the chances, they could not find a way past Ruddy, whose heroics ensured Norwich stay unbeaten this year.
Norwich manager Paul Lambert:
"We defended resolutely when we had to. We have an unbelievable spirit in the group and I thought we were well worthy of a point
"We certainly gave as good as we got, especially in the first half.
"My lads were brilliant. John Ruddy was excellent, but the whole group put their bodies on the line when they had to, and it was a huge point for us.
"When you are playing that level of a team, you have to keep your shape because otherwise they will pick you off."
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas:
"We were punished for our lack of efficiency to find the back of the net. The first half was split but in the second half we were totally dominant.
"We created a lot of opportunities but couldn't find the back of the net. We have to continue to create chances, this is the most important thing.
"John Ruddy had a fantastic game today. A point is not bad but not enough for our title challenge.
"Gary Cahill trained with the team for three days and there are team principles to learn first, but he had a very good week and showed all his qualities. Frank Lampard [who went off injured in the first half] has a muscle tear. I am not 100% sure how serious it is, but from what I have been told it is not that bad."
- 01 Ruddy
- 02 R Martin
- 06 Whitbread
- 25 Naughton
- 26 Ayala
- 04 Johnson
- 11 Surman (Bennett - 90' )
- 12 Pilkington
- 15 Fox (Crofts - 79' )
- 05 Morison (Jackson - 79' )
- 09 Holt
- 31 Steer
- 03 Drury
- 07 Crofts
- 14 Hoolahan
- 17 Bennett
- 10 Jackson
- 21 Wilbraham
- 01 Cech
- 03 Cole
- 04 David Luiz
- 17 Bosingwa
- 26 Terry
- 07 Ramires
- 08 Lampard (Malouda - 37' )
- 16 Meireles (Essien - 79' )
- 09 Torres (Lukaku - 77' )
- 10 Mata
- 23 Sturridge
- 22 Turnbull
- 02 Ivanovic
- 34 Bertrand
- 05 Essien
- 06 Romeu
- 15 Malouda
- 18 Lukaku
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +2:37
Jose Bosingwa crosses the ball.90:00 +0:30
A cross is delivered by Daniel Sturridge, clearance by Elliott Bennett. Shot by Florent Malouda from outside the box goes over the target.89:28
Indirect free kick taken by David Luiz.89:28 Substitution
Substitution Andrew Surman goes off and Elliott Bennett comes on.89:28
Ramires fouled by Bradley Johnson, the ref awards a free kick.88:43
Juan Mata concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Naughton. John Ruddy takes the indirect free kick.88:24
Simeon Jackson concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole. Ashley Cole takes the indirect free kick.87:43
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata, Florent Malouda takes a shot. Blocked by Bradley Johnson.87:25
Jose Bosingwa crosses the ball, Florent Malouda takes a shot. Clearance by Andrew Crofts.86:24
Florent Malouda sends in a cross, clearance by Bradley Johnson.86:15
Juan Mata crosses the ball, Bradley Johnson manages to make a clearance.85:59
Juan Mata takes a short corner.85:04
Shot from outside the penalty box by Ashley Cole goes wide right of the goal.84:53
Jose Bosingwa sends in a cross, Russell Martin makes a clearance.84:30
The ball is swung over by Zak Whitbread, clearance by John Terry.83:09
Juan Mata delivers the ball, clearance made by Daniel Ayala.82:51
Corner taken short by Daniel Sturridge.82:47
Daniel Sturridge crosses the ball, Daniel Ayala makes a clearance.80:48
Shot by Juan Mata from inside the penalty area hits the post.
The ball is delivered by Romelu Lukaku, clearance made by Daniel Ayala.79:17
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simeon Jackson by John Terry. Free kick taken by Daniel Ayala.78:01 Substitution
Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Michael Essien coming on for Raul Meireles.78:01 Substitution
Substitution Simeon Jackson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steve Morison.78:01 Substitution
Substitution Andrew Crofts on for David Fox.76:22 Substitution
Substitution Romelu Lukaku joins the action as a substitute, replacing Fernando Torres.74:43
Centre by Steve Morison, save made by Petr Cech.74:16
Raul Meireles takes a shot. Blocked by Bradley Johnson.72:56
Effort on goal by Ramires from 20 yards. John Ruddy makes a save.72:49
A cross is delivered by Ashley Cole, clearance made by Zak Whitbread.71:01
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt by David Luiz. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Zak Whitbread from left channel, free kick awarded for a foul by Steve Morison on Fernando Torres. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.69:45
Andrew Surman takes a outswinging corner. Steve Morison delivers the ball, clearance made by Raul Meireles.67:31
Shot from just outside the area by Raul Meireles goes over the bar.66:57
Florent Malouda sends in a cross, clearance by Zak Whitbread.66:23
The ball is delivered by Ramires, Russell Martin makes a clearance.65:58
The ball is delivered by Anthony Pilkington, save made by Petr Cech.65:53
Anthony Pilkington delivers the ball, clearance by Raul Meireles.65:13
The ball is sent over by Andrew Surman, clearance made by David Luiz.64:31
Corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the left by-line to the near post, Florent Malouda takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Comfortable save by John Ruddy.64:24
Centre by Ashley Cole, Russell Martin gets a block in.62:09
Fernando Torres is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by John Ruddy.61:15
The referee gives a free kick against Raul Meireles for handball. John Ruddy restarts play with the free kick.60:57
Corner taken by Juan Mata played to the near post, David Fox makes a clearance.60:47
Juan Mata takes a shot. Save made by John Ruddy.60:10
The ball is swung over by Daniel Sturridge, save by John Ruddy.59:06
Jose Bosingwa produces a cross, Shot from inside the six-yard box by Fernando Torres goes wide right of the goal.58:39
Jose Bosingwa crosses the ball, Andrew Surman makes a clearance.57:49
Fernando Torres has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.55:05
Fernando Torres delivers the ball, clearance made by Kyle Naughton.54:54
Centre by Florent Malouda, Russell Martin manages to make a clearance.53:53
Grant Holt produces a cross, save by Petr Cech.52:54
Shot from just outside the penalty box by David Luiz misses to the left of the target.52:13
Juan Mata takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Russell Martin. The ball is swung over by Juan Mata, Steve Morison manages to make a clearance.52:04
The ball is swung over by Ashley Cole, Zak Whitbread manages to make a clearance.51:27
Free kick awarded for a foul by Grant Holt on John Terry. John Terry takes the free kick.50:52
The ball is sent over by Kyle Naughton, Petr Cech makes a save.48:29
Free kick awarded for a foul by Fernando Torres on Zak Whitbread. Free kick taken by Zak Whitbread.46:59
Centre by Anthony Pilkington.46:18
Free kick awarded for a foul by Steve Morison on Raul Meireles. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +1:17 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +1:03
Fernando Torres delivers the ball, Anthony Pilkington manages to make a clearance.45:00 +0:04
Effort on goal by Juan Mata from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.43:53
Andrew Surman delivers the ball, save made by Petr Cech.42:34
The ball is delivered by Jose Bosingwa.41:39
Raul Meireles takes a shot. John Ruddy makes a comfortable save.39:18
Juan Mata takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.38:37
Grant Holt crosses the ball, Petr Cech makes a save.38:05
The ball is sent over by Daniel Sturridge, save by John Ruddy.36:55
Juan Mata takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Daniel Ayala.36:10 Substitution
Substitution Florent Malouda is brought on as a substitute for Frank Lampard.36:01
A cross is delivered by Jose Bosingwa, Andrew Surman gets a block in.35:21
Bradley Johnson takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.31:04
Anthony Pilkington delivers the ball, Grant Holt takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a comfortable save.26:25
Corner from the left by-line taken by Juan Mata, Effort from deep inside the area by Daniel Sturridge misses to the right of the goal.26:06
Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save made by John Ruddy.25:44
Anthony Pilkington produces a cross, Jose Bosingwa manages to make a clearance.24:22
A cross is delivered by Juan Mata.22:43
Kyle Naughton crosses the ball.22:10
Grant Holt sends in a cross, clearance made by Ashley Cole.21:16
A cross is delivered by Jose Bosingwa, Zak Whitbread makes a clearance.20:30
The ball is sent over by Ramires, Russell Martin manages to make a clearance.19:24
Steve Morison has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.18:47
The ball is sent over by Juan Mata, Zak Whitbread manages to make a clearance.18:21
Centre by Daniel Sturridge, Zak Whitbread makes a clearance.16:40
Anthony Pilkington takes the chance to get an effort at goal. John Terry gets a block in.12:20
Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, Grant Holt makes a clearance.12:15
The ball is swung over by Jose Bosingwa, clearance by Daniel Ayala.11:35
The ball is delivered by Fernando Torres, Daniel Ayala manages to make a clearance.10:38
Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard, Effort from the edge of the box by Juan Mata goes wide of the left-hand post.10:32
A cross is delivered by Daniel Sturridge, Kyle Naughton manages to make a clearance.9:33
Shot from just outside the area by Grant Holt misses to the right of the target.5:51
The ball is delivered by Anthony Pilkington, save made by Petr Cech.3:29
The ball is delivered by Raul Meireles, clearance by Daniel Ayala.2:44
The ball is crossed by Frank Lampard, blocked by Bradley Johnson.2:19
Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, Zak Whitbread makes a clearance.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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