Frank Lampard will toast his first win as Chelsea boss by spending the evening in front of a baby monitor after his young Blues downed Norwich.
Academy products Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount grabbed the goals in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Carrow Road – the Canaries twice coming from behind to draw level.
Abraham opened the scoring early on with his first senior goal for Chelsea before Todd Cantwell levelled from close range.
In-form Teemu Pukki then grabbed a second equaliser before half-time after Mount had struck.
Chelsea were more dominant in the second half and had a Kurt Zouma goal ruled out by VAR – with Abraham’s second settling an entertaining contest.
Lampard, whose third child was born last year, had not managed a win in his first three games in charge but has no grand plans to celebrate his maiden victory.
Asked if he had given himself a chance to celebrate, the former Chelsea midfielder replied: “If celebration means a couple of glasses while watching the baby monitor this evening and watching Match of the Day, then that will be it. That’s the way life is these days!
“For me, I am happy, very happy with the result. We want to win games, I want to stay in contention.
“I didn’t want a slow start. We had a tough start and I have got to say I am happy with a lot of the performances.
Frank Lampard has arrived to speak to the media and starts by saying how delighted he is for Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount after their goals. He points out Mount smoothly adapted to being shifted out to the left before kick-off after Pedro’s injury in the warm-up. #NORCHE pic.twitter.com/QgUImeqiM2— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 24, 2019
“But you can’t shout that too loudly if you aren’t winning games. So it changes it for me, today. So I am very happy.
“It gives me more determination to work. I saw a lot of good things, things we can improve but a real good belief in the players, the way they played today. I am happy, but determined, I suppose.”
Chelsea’s travelling support revelled in the fact their goals came from two players who have come up through the ranks at Stamford Bridge.
Abraham has spent plenty of time out on loan and excelled at Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship last season before returning to chelsea and becoming Lampard’s first-choice striker.
Mount spent last year with Lampard at Derby and the manager was pleased to see both his proteges on the scoresheet.
“I think it’s the age-old story, fans like to see players that really feel the club,” he added.
“They are not necessarily local boys, not in the modern way of football because players are from all over the world.
“But I think they enjoy seeing something because if you come through the academy here you should feel the club, if you work daily and come through at a young age your absolute desire is to do that.”
Norwich, on the back of an impressive win over Newcastle last weekend, played their part – especially in the first half.
Daniel Farke’s side had not lost a home league game since Lampard prevailed with Derby in December and Pukki continued his fine start to the season with an assist for Cantwell and his fifth goal in three games.
Ben Godfrey almost rescued a point when he headed against the crossbar, with Farke ruing the defending for Abraham’s winner.
“We conceded early but I knew the lads would react to a setback,” said the Norwich boss. “I can trust my players. For me, a draw at half-time was a fair result. They had spells, we had spells.
“In the second half for the first 15 minutes they put a lot of pressure on us and were the better side. You have to expect this. Chelsea at this level will be able to dominate for a spell against Norwich.
“They score out of a counter when we are two against one. That was disappointing.”
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The Premier League’s top two coming into the weekend face off on Saturday (20:30 UAE) in a high-voltage fixture, from which both will be aiming to extend perfect records this season.
Liverpool host Arsenal following a 2-1 win at Southampton in which they had to work hard for all three points. The Gunners overcame Burnley at home with the same scoreline after Dani Ceballos inspired them with a remarkable show in midfield.
Which team will prevail in the top-of-the-table clash? We take a look at the talking points:
Liverpool look to maintain unblemished record
The Reds have dominated the north London club in recent times.
Their current unbeaten run stretches over eight games, across all competitions.
When the two teams met at Anfield last season, Roberto Firmino ripped through the Arsenal defence to walk away with the match-ball. Liverpool were 5-1 victors in what was one-way traffic, with Arsenal failing to react to first-half carnage.
The hosts had earlier registered 4-0 and 3-1 victories in the two meetings before the onslaught. This means that the Reds enjoy an aggregate of 12-2 over the last three games played between the two sides at Anfield.
This, aided by the fact that Liverpool are on an 11-game winning streak in the Premier League – their best in the competition – means that the hosts are overwhelming favourites and will look to keep up the excellent record.
Aubameyang to back his words with performance?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claimed that Arsenal’s front-line is comparable to that of Liverpool – one of the deadliest in Europe.
“Pepe and me, we are quick players like Mane and Salah, while Laca is a player who can keep the ball and is really good with his feet like Firmino. So yes, we can say we are close enough,” he told Sky Sports.
Arsenal’s attack is certainly at its peak, with Ligue 1 sensation Nicolas Pepe and Real Madrid loanee Ceballos adding more firepower to the blitzing duo of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Aubameyang, a Gabon international, scored in each of Arsenal two games this season and could cause Liverpool a lot of trouble, especially on the counter.
Unai Emery has sparingly used Pepe, but the manager indicated that he could start the former Lille star on Saturday. From what the winger showed during his time in France, Pepe could wear out Andrew Robertson and prevent him from adding much to the attack.
With Arsenal’s attack brimming with quality and Liverpool’s defence displaying unusual cracks, amplified by the injury to goalkeeper Alisson, this could be the Gunners’ best shot at breaking the curse.
A tactical surprise from Emery?
Unai Emery has invariably preferred building from the back at Arsenal, entertaining long strings of possession and striking when most opportune.
This system is most vulnerable to Liverpool’s gegenpressing, as evidenced by their big-margin wins over Barcelona, Manchester City and Arsenal in the last couple of seasons.
It will be interesting to see if Emery sticks to his ideals and risks another poor result or opts for a more direct approach. Ceballos showed against Burnley that there is certain directness associated with his game and he could be Emery’s go-to man, should he go ahead with the tactical shuffle.
However, the former Real Betis starlet will be pitted against Fabinho on Saturday and not Burnley’s Ashley Westwood or Jack Cork. The 25-year-old endured a sorry start to his Liverpool career, but turned it around to grow into a crucial element of their Champions League-winning midfield.
The two players can forge an exciting battle at the centre of the pitch.
Here, PA news agency takes a look at all the key talking points.
All eyes on Anfield
The Premier League table may not mean much after just two games each but a fixture between Liverpool and Arsenal usually does, whether they are first and second or not. Liverpool looked superb for the first 45 minutes of the season against Norwich but since then Jurgen Klopp’s side have been more questionable, certainly in defence, and almost threw away a 2-0 lead at Southampton a week ago.
Arsenal have issues of their own but they offer plenty of threats going forward – so can they punish Liverpool at the back? They will need to do much better than they did on their last visit to Anfield, when Roberto Firmino’s hat-trick helped Liverpool to a 5-1 win.
Will VAR steal the spotlight once more?
VAR was the centre of attention yet again last weekend and the next controversy is surely not far away. Manchester City have been involved in two of the biggest debates yet with incidents in both of their games so far, most obviously the disallowing of Gabriel Jesus’ late strike in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend. League officials will surely be hoping that wherever the next incident is, it is not at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium when they visit on Sunday.
Can Lampard poop the Pukki party?
Whether they have got the rub of the green or not, Chelsea remain winless three matches into the Frank Lampard era. On paper, a trip to newly-promoted Norwich might be just what they are looking for and the Blues will be strong favourites at Carrow Road. But Norwich have looked strong on their return to the Premier League, and Teemu Pukki’s hat-trick in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Newcastle makes the Finnish frontman joint topscorer so far in the early going.
After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth at the back end of last season, Brighton have started well under new boss Graham Potter. They demolished Watford on the opening day before taking a point off West Ham last weekend – a game they may well have won but for the intervention of VAR. With a pointless Southampton due at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday, there must be every chance they will get even more points on the board early in the campaign.
Worries for Watford and West Ham
Watford and West Ham have both suffered poor starts to the season, each on the receiving end of an opening day hammering at home as Watford lost 3-0 to Brighton and West Ham went down 5-0 to champions Manchester City. They will meet at Vicarage Road with just one point between them, and 10 goals conceded between them. It is too early in the season to panic, but both teams need a win and soon.
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