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.