Premier League football doesn’t get much more straightforward than this.
As Chelsea walked off the strains of One Step Beyond and Stamford Bridge partied, Norwich trudged over apologetically to their beleaguered travelling fans.
It’s going to be a long, dark winter in Norfolk. By the end, this felt like an exhibition match, akin to when the Harlem Globetrotters roll into town and some poor team are made to fulfil the role of hapless victims to allow the stars to strut their stuff.
Chelsea put in a destructive performance to thrash Norwich 7-0, sending a warning shot across the Premier League
Mason Mount bagged a hat-trick after a sensational performance, ending his 25-game goal draught in stunning style
Norwich were already bottom of the Premier League but after a nightmarish afternoon their confidence looks decimated
Chelsea: Mendy, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Havertz.
Subs: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Christensen, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Barkley, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Sarr.
Manager: Thomas Tuchel
Goals: Mount (8, 85, 91), Hudson-Odoi (18), James (42), Chilwell (57), (Aarons 62og).
Norwich: Krul, Kabak, Gibson, Hanley, Aarons, Lees-Melou, Normann, McLean, Giannoulis, Sargent, Pukki.
Subs: Rupp, Dowell, Rashica, Tzolis, Sorensen, Williams, Gunn, Idah, Omobamidele.
Manager: Daniel Farke
Red-cards: Gibson (65)
The twist here was that the expensive stars were absent injured in Romelu Lukaku and Time Werner. In their absence, the Chelsea academy stepped up: Mason Mount scored a hat-trick, Callum Hudson-Odoi, goaded pre match by his manager for consistency, responded with a superb performance which included a goal and two assists, while Reece James and Ben Chilwell also scoring, with an own goal from Max Aarons completing the magnificent seven.
The game was four minutes old when Hudson-Odoi got the full Thomas Tuchel treatment. The Chelsea manager enraged is a full-on John Cleese moment, with accompanying awkward spasms of infuriated indignity. If there were a tree branch to hand, you can imagine him whacking his car a la Basil Fawlty.
The young Chelsea forward acknowledged the apoplexy with a chastened wave, which conveyed his apology. His crime? Hesitating and not driving into the box at a key moment in an attack.
Hudson-Odoi is the player Tuchel brought on and then subbed at Southampton last season, meaning there his interventions doubtless carry some weight. And here the Chelsea manager smelt blood and wanted no mercy. There was to be no holding back against a wounded Norwich side.
Maybe he sensed double figures from the start. For Norwich were genuinely that bad, so weak and malleable that the Chelsea manager seemed intent on being utterly ruthless from the off.
Reece James would get the Hudson-Odoi treatment three minutes later similarly for not driving on into the box. Never mind the defence, seemed to be the message. Goals are the thing when you’re up against Norwich. Luckily for James, he was on the opposite side of the pitch so could only hear a muted version of his admonishment rather than the full throttle Hudson-Odoi received from a few yards away.
Still, it worked. On eight minutes Hudson-Odoi drove into the box, crossed and though the ball was headed clear it fell to Jorginho. A neat touch to Mason Mount teed up the midfielder to strike home decisively from the edge of the box for 1-0. Gareth Southgate watching