Bridge Bander: Chelsea clearly cleaning up their act

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Some are surprised the Blues’ bright start to the season hasn’t faltered, but not nearly as surprised as a young Thai footballer, demonstrating his keepy-uppy skills at Stamford Bridge ahead of last weekend’s kick-off.
 

Moments before Chelsea and Norwich took to the pitch, the teenager had toe-tapped a ball several dozen times, flicked it up and caught it on the back of his neck.
 

Having lain down on the hallowed turf to prove he could also juggle a football on the soles of his feet, a powerful jet of water whooshed straight up his shorts as the automated sprinkler system activated.
 

The poor lad’s expression of shock was mirrored on Canaries’ manager Chris Hughton’s boat race at the end of the first half as Chelsea, who had fallen behind to an 11th-minute Grant Holt strike, bounced back emphatically to lead 3-1 at the interval.
 

That man Fernando Torres was on target again, Frank Lampard put the Blues ahead, then Eden Hazard stroked in a right-footed shot to leave Chelsea completely incommand.
 

Branislav Ivanovich added the fourth in the second half, continuing Chelsea’s multiple-striker record, which has seen just about everybody find the net bar in-form keeper Petr Cech.

It leaves the European champions top of the pile through the international break.
 

Ivanovich was subbed with 10 minutes remaining, allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to make his league debut.
 

As names go, Azpilicueta is quite a mouthful. So during a fans’ Spanish question-and-answer session at the Bridge last week (also featuring Torres and Juan Mata) one wag asked if he could call him ‘Dave’ instead.
 

The 23-year-old former Marseille defender cheerfully agreed, so ‘Dave’ he has become!
 

The Blues are clearly trying to atone for their recent off-field problems by being angelic on it.

Ref Anthony Taylor didn’t need to produce a single card in the entire Chelsea v Norwich game.

 

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