Tammy Abraham repaid manager Frank Lampard’s faith in youth as his two goals against Norwich helped Chelsea to their first win of the season.
In a frantic start, Abraham opened the scoring inside three minutes for the Blues, whose starting line-up had an average age of 24 years and 208 days – their youngest in the Premier League since February 1994.
But Norwich equalised just 156 seconds later, Todd Cantwell finishing from close range from a Teemu Pukki cross.
Mason Mount restored the Blues’ lead midway through the first half with his second goal of the season, but the Canaries soon pulled level once more as Pukki slotted in from a tight angle for his fifth of the campaign.
Chelsea dominated the start of the second half and were rewarded through Abraham’s second – an unstoppable drive past Tim Krul – before Kurt Zouma had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee after substitute Olivier Giroud was judged to have fouled the Norwich keeper.
The result means Chelsea are unbeaten against Norwich in 16 meetings.
Chelsea youth stay patient
Lampard made two changes to the side that drew with Leicester last weekend, bringing in Abraham and Mateo Kovacic for Giroud and the injured N’Golo Kante, but he was forced to make another change after Pedro picked up a hamstring problem in the warm-up, replacing him with Ross Barkley.
His trust in his younger players paid dividends inside the opening 20 minutes at Carrow Road, with Abraham – who he said before kick-off would “cause Norwich problems” – finishing off Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross with a sweet finish into the bottom right-hand corner in the opening stages of the match.
Just 11 minutes after Cantwell’s equaliser for Norwich, Mount – who Lampard had on loan at Derby last season – cut inside the hosts’ defence and unleashed an unstoppable shot high into the net.
Despite Norwich’s second leveller, Chelsea continued to pressure their opponents’ shaky defence and Mount and Christian Pulisic both saw efforts go wide within moments of the second half getting under way.
Abraham’s second goal saw him become the youngest Chelsea player to score twice in a Premier League fixture since 1998, twisting and turning and tying Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in knots before firing past Krul.
The Blues thought they had scored again when Zouma poked a loose ball home, but the VAR got involved after referee Martin Atkinson had initially awarded the goal.
The only downside to Chelsea’s victory came late on as Mount hobbled off injured.
Canaries chirpy start slows down
Premier League newcomers Norwich have quickly established themselves as a side not to be underestimated this season and they demonstrated that early on against Chelsea as Finnish striker Pukki – the Canaries’ hat-trick hero against Newcastle – put the ball on a plate for Cantwell to score his first goal in the top flight.
After Mount’s goal, Chelsea enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure and Norwich had Krul to thank for not slipping further behind, the keeper producing a sublime save to swipe an Andreas Christensen header over the bar.
The hosts were soon level though, Pukki effortlessly slotting home to become only the 10th player to have scored in his first three Premier League appearances.
Norwich struggled to match Chelsea’s tempo after the break and had to wait more than 20 minutes for their first attack of the second half, but were punished just 30 seconds later as Abraham bagged his second.
Ben Godfrey hit the bar with a header from a corner soon after but manager Daniel Farke ruled change was needed, making a triple substitution with 10 minutes to go as his side searched for a late equaliser.
It worked to some extent, Norwich pushing Chelsea harder in the later stages than they had throughout the half but ultimately struggling to find the end product.
Man of the match – Mason Mount (Chelsea)
‘I’m really pleased’ – what they said
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It was a tough test and Norwich will get a lot of points here because they are a good side.
“The two goals we gave away I didn’t like but there were lots of good elements to our play and I’m really pleased.
“I’m particularly pleased for Tammy – he scored two good goals and the winning goal – but I want to talk about all the players today as we controlled the game on a hot day. Our performances haven’t given us what we deserved so far – but today it did.
“Pedro felt his hamstring in the warm-up but Mason was just a kick to his calf so hopefully he can quickly recover.”
Norwich manager Daniel Farke, speaking to BT Sport: “It was a pretty close game. Small details made the difference today.
“I think 2-2 at half time was the right result. Then Chelsea were dominating in the first 15 minutes of the second half and that gave them the edge.
“Sometimes when you play against a team like Chelsea, you have to ride that pressure out. I am pretty happy with the performance, we had a number of chances, unfortunately we could not find the equaliser.”
- Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has lost none of his three managerial meetings with Norwich (W2 D1), winning both of his visits to Carrow Road (also 4-3 with Derby in December 2018) – Mason Mount has been on the scoresheet in both such wins.
- Norwich have scored at least twice in 16 of their last 17 home league games, scoring a total of 46 goals in this period. However, this was their first home league defeat of 2019 (P12 W8 D3 L1).
- Both Norwich and Chelsea had scored after just five minutes and 32 seconds, the earliest time taken for both teams to find the net in a Premier League fixture since November 2017, when Crystal Palace v Everton was at 1-1 after 5:25.
- Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has scored 28 league goals (including in the play-offs) since the start of last season, the most of any English player in the top two tiers of English football in that time.
- Aged 21 years and 326 days old, Abraham is the third youngest player to score a brace in the Premier League for Chelsea, after Mark Nicholls in January 1998 against Coventry (20y 225d) and Eddie Newton in December 1992 against Tottenham (20y 358d).
- Norwich forward Teemu Pukki (five goals) is the 10th player to score in each of his first three Premier League appearances, while only Pavel Pogrebnyak also scored as many as five in his first three in the competition.
- Chelsea had two English players aged 21 or under score in the same Premier League match (Abraham and Mason Mount) for the first time since 22 August 1992, when Eddie Newton and Graham Stuart scored against Sheffield Wednesday.
- Norwich’s Todd Cantwell (one goal, two assists) has already been directly involved in as many Premier League goals in three games as he was in 24 Championship appearances last season.
- Since the start of last season, Norwich’s league matches have seen a total of 164 goals scored (99 for, 65 against), more than any other side in the top four tiers of English football in this time (excluding play-offs).
Following a trip to Crawley in the EFL Cup on Tuesday (19:45 BST), Norwich travel to West Ham on Saturday (15:00 BST) while Chelsea host Sheffield United at the same time.