Chelsea continues revival as Canaries drop into bottom three

A first-minute goal from Kenedy and a controversial strike from Diego Costa helped Chelsea to a 2-1 victory at Norwich City, which dropped into the Premier League relegation zone.

Kenedy - cropped

Kenedy celebrates his goal for Chelsea at Norwich

A first-minute goal from Kenedy and a controversial strike from Diego Costa helped Chelsea to a 2-1 victory at Norwich City, which dropped into the Premier League relegation zone.

Norwich came into Tuesday's meeting at Carrow Road having taken just one point from its past seven games, and it got off to a disastrous start as Kenedy netted his first Premier League goal inside 40 seconds.

The full-back had been included in the starting XI in place of Baba Rahman, who was culpable for Southampton's goal on Saturday, and almost immediately justified his selection with a fine shot from outside the box.

Costa controversy

Norwich felt aggrieved to concede a second in first-half stoppage time as Costa, who netted the only goal in the reverse fixture, ran through from what looked to be an offside position to score.

Nathan Redmond pulled one back for Norwich in the 68th minute but Chelsea held on to climb to eighth, having gone unbeaten in the 12 league matches since Guus Hiddink took over following Jose Mourinho's sacking in December.

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Norwich, meanwhile, slip into the bottom three, courtesy of Sunderland's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, ahead of a crucial trip to fellow strugglers Swansea City on Saturday.

Ahead of the game, Norwich manager Alex Neil had implored his players to keep Chelsea quiet but they failed spectacularly as the visitors took the lead after just 39 seconds.

Eden Hazard fed Kenedy, who cut inside before shifting the ball back onto his left foot where he arrowed a drive past John Ruddy into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards.

Norwich responded well to the early setback as Cameron Jerome troubled the Chelsea backline, the striker heading narrowly over from Wes Hoolahan's cross in the 17th minute.

Chelsea ought to have doubled its advantage eight minutes prior to the interval as Hazard's superb pass sent Bertrand Traore clean through but his heavy touch allowed Ruddy to gather.

The Norwich goalkeeper made a fine save from Cesc Fabregas' dangerous set-piece, before Costa doubled the advantage in controversial circumstances.

Lead doubled

Traore clipped a ball in from the right and Costa, who looked to be standing in an offside position, ran through and dinked the ball over Ruddy and into the net.

Norwich began the second period well and Gary O'Neil - on as a first-half substitution for the injured Alex Tettey - swept over a cross which Jerome volleyed narrowly wide.

The striker was guilty of wasting a glorious chance shortly afterwards, clipping the top of the crossbar with a volley when unmarked six yards out.

But Norwich did pull one back midway through the half as Hoolahan's cute pass set up Redmond, who lashed a powerful effort past Thibaut Courtois.

O'Neil saw an effort deflected just wide before the midfielder required treatment for a nasty clash of heads with team-mate Robbie Brady.

Redmond's mazy run ended in a fizzing shot which flew just wide but despite late pressure, Norwich was unable to force an equaliser as Hiddink's men held on for their third-straight win.

Key Opta stats:
Chelsea has won three successive Premier League games for the first time since April.
- Kenedy scored after 39 seconds, the quickest Premier League goal of the season. 
- Diego Costa has scored or assisted 12 goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances (eight goals, four assists).
Three of the four shots on target in this match resulted in goals being scored.

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