European champions Chelsea travel to Carrow Road on Boxing Day, to play a Norwich City squad beaten over the weekend by Steve Clarke's West Brom. The Canaries will be particularly wary of the Blues now, after Rafael Benitez's Stamford Bridge revolution continued with an 8-0 hammering of Aston Villa on Sunday.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 3 pm GMT. Live commentary is available on BBC Radio Norfolk. Watch highlights of the match on Match of the Day on BBC One and BBC One HD, at 10.25 pm GMT.
Norwich saw a three game winning streak (and a 10 game unbeaten run) come to an end on Sunday, when on-loan forward Romelu Lukaku's 82nd minute goal earned West Brom a 2-1 win. The defeat leaves Chris Hughton in 10th, with 25 points from 18 games and a first loss since, ironically, Chelsea beat them 4-1 at Stamford Bridge. And judging by the Blues' display in their weekend fixture, the Canaries will be wary of suffering a sixth league defeat of the campaign.
The Norfolk club will also be wary of Swansea City and West Ham United behind them, with Michael Laudrup and Sam Allardyce within a win of replacing them in the top ten. The defeat at the Hawthorns aside, Norwich come into this game in reasonably good form but their inability to keep clean sheets will worry the manager; the Canaries have not shut out an opponent since the 1-0 win over Manchester United in mid-November.
This will likely be a difficult end to 2012 for Norwich... the club hosts Chelsea and champions Manchester City in quick succession and a string of three defeats to finish the calendar year could have repercussions for the second half of the campaign, particularly if either Swansea or West Ham pick up points in the same period.
Meanwhile, all the talk going into this game is likely to focus on Chelsea's 8-0 demolition of the Villans. Paul Lambert's side travelled to west London on the back of a surprising win over Liverpool the week before, with Belgian forward Christian Benteke orchestrating a win that left Brendan Rodgers and co. stunned.
However, Chelsea put in a vintage display and controlled the pace of the game from the very first minute; in fact, the Blues won a free kick (approximately 20 yards out) within the first minute and Fernando Torres continued his fine recovery by scoring a thumping header in the third minute.
A similarly revitalised David Luiz reveled in his midfield role, pulling the strings very nicely from the centre of the park, with 500-match veteran Frank Lampard for company. The Brazilian scored his club's second, with a superb free kick.
The Blues moved into third with the win, two points above Arsenal (with a game in hand; they play Southampton on 5 January) and now only seven behind champions Manchester City. Moreover, the defeat to Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup final aside, Benitez' Chelsea have now won all three of their domestic games since the 6-1 hammering of Danish club FC Nordsjaelland in a Champions League group stage match. And have scored 25 goals in the last six matches, conceding only five.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L W L W W
- Last Match: West Bromwich Albion 2 - 1 Norwich City
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W L W W
- Last Match: Chelsea 8 - 0 Aston Villa
Hughton will continue to miss striker Grant Holt, as the Englishman recovers from a knock in the game against Wigan. First choice goal keeper John Ruddy is also unavailable and is unlikely to return before February 2013, meaning Mark Bunn continues to deputise. Midfielder Andrew Surman and defender Ryan Bennett both have knee injuries and neither is likely to play this game.
Michael Turner had a poor game against the Baggies and was booked for a blatant foul on West Brom's Peter Odemwingie. However, rather than over-react to one defeat, Hughton is likely to name a similar side for this game. Snodgrass had an excellent game at the Hawthorns and a similar performance from midfield will be very welcome.
Probable Line-Up: Bunn; Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Johnson, Snodgrass, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Tettey; Morison
Chelsea will still be without captain John Terry, as the ex-England centre back recovers from a knee problem. Fellow veteran Frank Lampard is back in the first team though, and his goal against Villa on Sunday suggests the midfielder is still a key member of the Blues' squad, even if he is 34 years old.
Young left back Ryan Betrand should be fit for selection by the time Chelsea arrive at Carrow Road but given the emphatic nature of the win at the Bridge, it is unlikely Benitez will make too many changes; at least, we would expect him not to. Former Barcelona midfielder Oriel Romeu is the one long-term absentee, with a cruciate ligament injury.
Probable Line-Up: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole; Lampard, Luiz; Hazard, Mata, Oscar; Torres