Chelsea will have another game on their busy schedule after failing to get past Norwich at the first attempt in the FA Cup third round. The much-changed Blues couldn’t find a way past a sturdy Norwich defence as the game finished goalless at Carrow Road on Saturday evening.

Antonio Conte made nine changes to the team that started against Arsenal on Wednesday with only Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko keeping their places. Michy Batshuayi started up front alongside Pedro and Willian while Alvaro Morata was the only high-profile player on the bench. Meanwhile, Nelson Oliveira wasn’t fit enough to start the game so the home side fielded a team without a recognised striker and that set the tone for the ninety minutes to come.

The Canaries had the better of the first half, preventing the Chelsea attack from any clear chances while also threatening Willy Caballero’s goal. The Blues were slow in their build-up and there seemed to be a lack of creativity without Eden Hazard or Cesc Fabregas. They almost paid for this slow build-up when David Luiz, who was making his first appearance since November, almost lost the ball on the edge of his own area after a lazy touch almost allowed Alex Pritchard to pounce.

Josh Murphy had the best chance of the first half after he ran onto a through ball and sprinted away from Antonio Rudiger before pulling his shot across the goal and out for a throw in when it really should’ve been testing Caballero at least. Batshuayi was struggling to get involved in the game and wasn’t making runs that stretched the Norwich defence, instead opting to sit in front of them. That made it far too easy to defend and since the likes of Grant Hanley are stronger than Batshuayi, he lost the ball whenever he received it.

Chelsea went up a gear in the second half and almost found the breakthrough through Willian on a couple of occasions. He sent a low shot towards the near post but Angus Gunn made a good save, getting down low to parry the Brazilian’s shot out of danger. Willian then danced past a couple of players and made his way into the box before hitting a tame shot straight into the arms of Gunn. Alvaro Morata was brought on in place of Batshuayi but, despite making some useful runs, the service to him was of poor standard.

Tiemoue Bakayoko was fouled on the edge of the Norwich penalty area and David Luiz sent the resulting free kick onto the roof of the net. Dujon Sterling came on at right wing-back with Davide Zappacosta moving over to the left wing and the youngster caused problems straight away. He forced a corner which led to Davide Zappacosta volleying into the arms of Gunn. The Italian almost won it right at the death but his half volley bounced just wide of the far post and Gunn kept a deserved clean sheet.

The game was overshadowed by Antonio Conte’s post-match comments about Jose Mourinho, calling him a ‘little man’ and a ‘fake’ man. This continues their war of words originally started by Mourinho when he indirectly called Conte a ‘clown’ for his antics on the touchline. Conte then diagnosed Mourinho with ‘senile dementia’, claiming he’d forgotten about the times when he used to act up on the sidelines. Mourinho hit back, saying that at least he’d never been involved in match fixing and it’s taken off from there. Anyway, the replay will take place at Stamford Bridge in a couple of weeks and suspect to see a similar came to that at Carrow Road.