Chelsea ensured they will stay at the top of the Premier League for another week at least as Mason Mount's hat-trick inspired Thomas Tuchel's side to a thumping 7-0 victory over bottom side Norwich at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had injury problems heading into the game with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both missing, but despite the star name absentees, the gulf in class between the two sides was there for all to see from the very first whistle as Chelsea raced out of the blocks to take an early advantage through Mount (8).
The Blues were hardly tested at the back and the goals continued to flow at the other end as Callum Hudson-Odoi (18) and Reece James (42) sent them in at the break three goals to the good.
Hapless Norwich's woes continued after the break as Ben Chilwell (57) continued his fine scoring run before Max Aarons' own goal (62) continued a torrid afternoon for Daniel Farke's side, who also had Ben Gibson sent off in the second half (65).
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Mount (85) grabbed his second of the game, scoring from the penalty spot at the second time of asking after Tim Krul was adjudged to have come off his line before making the initial save before the England international put the exclamation mark on his and Chelsea's afternoon by completing his first hat-trick for the club (90+1).
Victory means Chelsea will stay top for another week after emphatically extending their lead over second-placed Liverpool to four points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's side's Super Sunday clash with Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Norwich's top-flight troubles continue. They remain bottom of the Premier League after a chastening afternoon in west London as their wait for a first win of the season continues.
How Chelsea totally outclassed Norwich...
It didn't take long for Chelsea to get into their stride, and they were ahead in less than eight minutes as Mount fired his first Premier League goal of the season.
The England international, in front of the watching Gareth Southgate, thumped home a low drive from 20 yards, leaving Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul with absolutely no chance.
They didn't have to wait too long or a second either as Hudson-Odoi finished a fine counter-attack from European champions just 10 minutes later. Thiago Silva cut out a brief Norwich attack before Mateo Kovacic slid through a perfectly weighted through ball for Hudson-Odoi, who provided a composed finish to double the advantage.
Despite the absence of Lukaku and Werner, Chelsea weren't struggling for goals and they had a third just before the break as James raced onto Mount's inch-perfect pass. It was another calm finish as James dinked the ball over the onrushing Krul to cap a perfect half for the Blues.
Norwich, who were blown away by Chelsea in the first half, tried to stem the flow of the game with Daniel Farke bringing on Brandon Williams and Milto Rashica at the break, and it almost saw the visitors grab a lifeline.
Chelsea: Mendy (7), Chilwell (8), Rudiger (8), Silva (7), Chalobah (7), James (8), Kovacic (8), Jorginho (7), Mount (9), Hudson-Odoi (8), Havertz (7).
Subs: Loftus-Cheek (7), Barkley (7), Ziyech (7).
Norwich: Krul (5), Aarons (5), Kabak (5), Hanley (6), Gibson (4), Giannoulis (5), Lees-Melou (5), Normann (6), McLean (6), Pukki (5), Sargent (5).
Subs: Rashica (6), Williams (5), Omobamidele (6).
Man of the match: Mason Mount
Rashica found himself in behind the Chelsea backline and attempted to take the ball around Edouard Mendy, but the Chelsea goalkeeper recovered to make a crucial last-ditch block.
It was a rare opportunity for Farke's side and it was their last.
Kovacic provided his second assist of the afternoon, playing in Chilwell, who drilled home his fourth goal in five games for club and country.
Things got worse for the visitors when Aarons turned Hudson-Odoi's cross into his own net just past the hour. The deflection left Krul with little chance on what was fast becoming an afternoon to forget for the Canaries.
Norwich's capitulation continued soon after as Gibson received his marching orders for a scything challenge through James as he picked up a deserved second yellow card.
On what was a difficult afternoon for Norwich keeper Krul, he did prevent a sixth Chelsea goal with a fine triple save to keep out efforts from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Hakim Ziyech and he was involved in yet more drama late on.
- Kai Havertz started as a false nine for the first time since the Champions League final as Chelsea made five changes to host Norwich. Havertz, Trevoh Chalobah, Mateo Kovacic, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi all started as Thomas Tuchel rotated his resources with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner out injured.
- Norwich fielded an unchanged XI, with Jacob Sorensen replacing Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour on the Canaries' bench.
The Dutchman did brilliantly to keep out Mount's low penalty after referee Andrew Madley had adjudged Mathias Normann to have blocked Antonio Riodiger's shot with his arm, but the goalkeeper was deemed to be off his line before the save and Mount made no mistake at the second time of asking.
Mount had the final say, completing his hat-trick in stoppage time when tapping in Ruben Loftus-Cheek's square ball, to round off a statement win for Tuchel and his side.
Chelsea's homegrown heroes...
4 - Chelsea are the first team to have 4+ different English players score for them in a Premier League game (excl. own goals) since Bournemouth vs Hull in Oct 2016. It's the first time the Blues have had this many Englishmen score for them in a single PL game. Patriotic. #CHENOR— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 23, 2021
What the managers said…
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: "We played a good performance. We were sharp and put in a lot of effort. We pressed high and won many balls, we played with a high rhythm and created a lot of chances. To score seven you also need a bit of luck and momentum, but it was a good effort.
"This is just one game, the next one follows on Tuesday evening [in the EFL Cup]. The players deserve all the credit, but it's also only one game.
"The focus was that we keep the same intensity and we create opportunities. This is what we demanded. You need luck to score and you need the moment. That's why I'm happy because the intensity was high and the rhythm was high.
On Mason Mount, Tuchel added: "No matter how satisfied the coach is, the offensive guys need goals to be fully happy. He waited too long, so it was good that he got some goals today."
Norwich boss Daniel Farke: "We said before the game that it was the toughest task in world football. We wanted to be at the top of our game, but we were not. We were too slow with the ball, against the ball and with our decision-making. That's why we lost the game.
"We were not sharp enough with the runs in behind - this was a topic during the week. The players are disappointed, but there's no need to punish them even more. We had decisions on the pitch that were brutal. We were a bit over-motivated that we conceded the red card and three more [late] goals.
"I told the players whatever happens, we use the next two days to forget about this because it's not season-defining. One of the season-defining games comes in our next home game. It's not good for our confidence to concede seven goals. We'll be disappointed for the next two days. After that we keep going."
Man of the match - Mason Mount
What an afternoon for the England international.
Chelsea fans may have been forgiven for wondering where the goals might be coming from in the absence of injured forwards Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, but those concerns proved to be misplaced.
Mount stepped up and was the inspiration for as dominant a performance as you will see as Chelsea swept Norwich aside with ease.
We all know about Mount's quality on the ball, his guile and skill around the pitch, but he himself has admitted he needs more goals.
Well, against Norwich he set the standard for the weeks ahead, showing his killer instinct in front of goal.
It was the complete performance from Mount.
Opta stats: The numbers behind Chelsea's thumping win…
This was the fourth time Chelsea have won a Premier League game by 7+ goals and the first time since December 2012 vs Aston Villa (8-0), with only Manchester United netting 7+ goals in more Premier League games (7) than Chelsea (6).
Chelsea have conceded just 16 goals and kept 17 clean sheets in the Premier League since Thomas Tuchel's first game on January 27, both league-best figures in that time (for teams to feature in both seasons).
Norwich suffered their joint-heaviest defeat in Premier League history, also losing 7-0 to Manchester City in November 2013.
Norwich's haul of just two goals after nine league games this season is the joint-lowest tally ever at this stage of an English league campaign and just the third time a team has registered such a low return at this stage in the Premier League (Crystal Palace in 2017-18 and Everton in 2005-06).
Chelsea host Southampton in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Tuesday before visiting Newcastle in the Premier League next Saturday at 3pm.
Norwich host Leeds in the Premier League next Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off is at 2pm.