Chelsea to get back on track with big win against Schalke
After his side’s 2-0 loss at St James’ Park, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho claimed he had made ’11 mistakes’ with his team selection.
The Portuguese admitted later on in his post-match interview that he had been exaggerating somewhat, but the squad-options available to Mourinho will ensure all his players are kept on their toes when Schalke visit Stamford Bridge in Champions League Group E.
Chelsea to win with a one-goal handicap @ 6/5
Before that aberration on Tyneside, Chelsea had been on a six-game winning run in all competitions, which included an impressive 2-0 victory away to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.
They also grabbed a dramatic 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge against Premier League title-favourites Manchester City and took Schalke apart in Gelsenkirchen during that run.
Two goals from Fernando Torres and a terrific Eden Hazard effort rounded off a convincing 3-0 win against Jens Keller’s Royal Blues.
Gary Cahill is expected to lineup alongside John Terry in the centre of defence in this fixture, with David Luiz dropping to the bench and Chelsea have not lost a game when the two Englishmen have started together in 2013/14.
With the likes of Willian, Andre Schurrle and Samuel Eto’o all hungry for first-team action, Mourinho has enough firepower at his disposal to see off Schalke with something to spare.
Over 2.5 goals to be scored in the match @ 8/13
The last Champions League tie Chelsea featured in that did not produce two or more net-bulgers was the 2011/12 final.
Since that glorious night in Germany, the Blues have treated their home faithful and travelling fans to a series of goal feasts.
Champions League matches featuring the west Londoners have seen almost four goals scored on average since the start of last season, so over 2.5 should be eminently achievable again here.
They face a Schalke outfit that have conceded 22 goals in the German top flight this season – just one less than Bundesliga basement-dwellers Eintracht Braunschweig.
Schurrle to score the first goal @ 6/1
The £18m summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen’s man-of-the-match performance in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Steaua Bucharest prompted Mourinho to lavish praise on his new forward and underline his worth to the team.
Schurrle hasn’t exactly hit the ground running in front of goal since arriving in England, but four strikes in two games for Germany in the last pair of 2014 World Cup qualifiers – including a hat-trick in Sweden – showed how deadly he can be.
That haul was followed by his first Chelsea goal against City and the Ludwigshafen native could lead the attack against Schalke.
He scored the opening goal when Bayer beat the Gelsenkirchen club 2-0 at the Bay Arena in the Bundesliga 12 months ago, which was the 23-year-old’s second career goal against Die Knappen.
Schurrle can be a thorn in Keller’s side again by breaking the deadlock with his first Champions League goal for Chelsea here.