Chelsea V Norwich at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview
Mikel out to continue Blues form
John Obi Mikel has no intention of taking his foot off the gas as he looks to help maintain Chelsea's blistering start to the season against Norwich. The European champions go into Saturday's home match three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, having dropped just two points from their opening six matches. Even a draw would be enough to see them end the weekend at the summit but midfielder Mikel is determined to build on the Blues' four successive wins in all competitions.
"I've been pretty happy with the way we've started the season," said the 25-year-old, who is set to make his 250th Chelsea appearance. "We are where we want to be. We're top of the table and unbeaten still. We want to keep that going." Chelsea have so far confounded the doubters who did not believe they could overhaul Manchester City and Manchester United after finishing 25 points adrift of them last season and engaging in a revolution in their style of play.
Last weekend's win at Arsenal was their biggest test yet and they passed it with flying colours. Mikel told Chelsea TV: "When we played against Newcastle, I said it was going to be a big test for us and we managed to beat them 2-0 and it was a great win for us. "And then Arsenal, wow, how are we going to go about it? But we went out there, we took the initiative. "We made sure we took the game to them. We played very well, we controlled the game. "We know Arsenal are going to have a bit possession. "But I think we actually did exactly what we wanted to do."
Chris Hughton has challenged his struggling Norwich side to be inspired when they tackle make seemingly daunting trip to Stamford Bridge. The Canaries head to west London without a win from their first six league games and seeking a response from last week's 5-2 home demolition by Liverpool. While facing the in-form Blues might not be exactly what Norwich need as they try to turn the tide, Hughton, who took over from Paul Lambert in the summer, sees no reason why his team should not rise to the occasion.
"The inspiration for the team should be walking out against quality international players. What a wonderful stage to go and apply your trade," Hughton told a press conference. "I would be incredibly disappointed if there was one player who was not looking forward to that challenge.
"Whether it is this week, next week or next month we have got to play them." Norwich had recovered from their 5-0 thrashing at Fulham on the opening day and - before being taken apart by Liverpool as Luis Suarez stroked in a hat-trick - had been hard to beat, battling to a 1-1 draw at Tottenham last month and playing well enough at Newcastle before losing 1-0.
Hughton added: "It will be a tough task, but it would be that whether we were on the back of a defeat or in the middle of a good run. "It is a difficult place to go. You know that before you go there. "You just have to set up the team correctly and give a good account of ourselves."
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