Chelsea FC v Schalke 04 –
Final Score/Result: Chelsea 3-0 Schalke
Man Of The Match: Samuel Eto’o
Chelsea FC take control of Group E after another 3-0 victory over Schalke 04 at Stamford Bridge last night.
Chelsea needed to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of Newcastle United in the league and they did so with a clinical performance. The London club are now in control of their group with that win. They now have a four points advantage over third placed Basel and will confirm their place in the next round even with a draw against Basel in their next fixture. Schalke on the other hand can also confirm their place in the next round if they win their match against Steaua Bucuresti and Basel lose their game against Chelsea.
Schalke started the match brightly and created two good opportunities in the opening 10 minutes, but first Julian Draxler and then Adam Szalai failed to hit the target. Those early miss came back to haunt Schalke as Samuel Eto’o created a goal out of nothing and provided the lead to the home side. Eto’o closed down Timo Hildebrand, and the German goalkeeper’s attempted clearance was blocked by Eto’o and the ball deflected towards goal. Hildebrand had to take blame for that goal, he had a lot of time clear the ball before Eto’o charged down the ball.
The goal provided a huge boost for Chelsea and they came out the better side in the second half. The Cameroonian international doubled the lead in the 54th minute after being set up by Willian on the counter-attack. The 25-year-old attacker ran at Schalke defence and picked up Eto’o with a good pass and the former Inter striker finished unerring accuracy. Right at the end Chelsea managed to add another goal to their tally as substitute Demba Ba scored his first Champions League goal for the club. The striker, who replaced Eto’o, was picked out by a wonderful lofted pass by Lampard and the Ba applied the finishing touch with a left footed volley.
Jose Mourinho accepted that his side were lucky to not concede a goal at the start of the match when Schalke looked dangerous, but he praised how his side fought their way back into the game. Mourinho heaped praise on ‘match winner’ Samuel Eto’o and explained how closing down Hildebrand was a part of their strategy.
“It was good, but of course the first 15 minutes were difficult. We are a team without a lot of maturity, we were quite lucky as they did not score from some good chances. After that we played very well. We were stable, kept possession in a very good way, played against them in a way they do not like to play. Petr [Čech] made a very good save to keep it 1-0. Everyone worked hard, especially the wingers against their full-backs. After that we were always aggressive and tried to accelerate the game. We are almost there.
“I told [Samuel Eto’o] to [pressure the goalkeeper]. I know [Timo Hildebrand] from Portugal and Spain. We know Schalke like to play from the back and play from the keeper. [Eto’o] was clever the way he attacked the keeper. My favourite players are those who win matches for me, not the ones who lose them. And Samuel worked with me in the best season of my career. We won everything. So he is in a good position.
“We have to understand why we win matches and do not forget why we win. Today we must realise why we won. We must keep calm – there is another important game on Saturday we have to try to win. Willian and [André] Schürrle did fantastic work for us. We have a big squad, we have players with quality. Sometimes players are frustrated when not first choice. The important thing is that when they get the chance they play well, like [César] Azpilicueta today. He played in a position he is not familiar with and did very well.” – The Chelsea manager told the press.
Chelsea v Schalke – Statistics
Samuel Eto’o produced his best performance for Chelsea since joining the club in the summer. The 32-year-old scored a wonderful brace, which settled the game. His first goal came down from his intelligence, quick think and perseverance as he outfoxed the Schalke Custodian and forced him into a mistake. The second was a classical Samuel Eto’o goal, the wonderful finish from a fairly tight angle rolled back the years. The above heat-map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch against Schalke.