Chelsea so far this season is by far the best team in England, producing excellent performances in each of their 12 games and scoring a respectable 30 goals thus far. Schalke 04 on the other hand, are finding life in the Bundesliga cumbersome, with 5 losses, two draws and 5 wins this season, placing them at 7th on the log.
Despite their contrasting forms, meetings between the two sides have always proved to be a very competitive affair. We however expect Chelsea to carry the day and here are 5 reasons why;
THE BLUES ARE CURRENTLY THE ‘IN FORM’ SIDE
One of the most important things in football is positive momentum. When a team is winning matches consistently and with ease, they are like a moving train that will be incredibly hard to stop. The team’s psychology is automatically programmed to expect good results anytime they step on the pitch, making them really hard to beat.
Chelsea is currently experiencing this type of form, as they are not only winning matches, but are winning them with relative ease. The London side have held their own thus far against the best teams in the Premiership and haven’t been found wanting.
The London side is unbeaten in 12 league matches thus far, while the Schalke team has paid for their inconsistent form this season, and is currently languishing in 7th.
CHELSEA HAVE HAD THE UPPER HAND IN PREVIOUS MATCH UPS
History favours the Blues immensely, as the two sides have met on four previous occasions in the Champions League, with Chelsea winning three times and drawing twice. In all those clashes, the Germans scored just once. Also no German club has ever left Stamford Bridge with a victory.
SCHALKE ARE INJURY PLAGUED
Chelsea has a clean bill of health. In contrast, Di Matteo’s side has a number of players ruled out through injury. They include Draxler (hamstring), Farfan (Knee), Sam (Thigh), Giefer (Groin),Goretzka (Hamstring) and Obasi (unspecified) who are all set to miss the crucial tie.
CHELSEA’S SUPERIOR QUALITY
Chelsea, In addition to being the better collective unit, also has technically superior players. Chelsea possess in their ranks, Diego Costa who has 11 goals in 10 matches and Cesc Fabregas, who currently leads the league in assists. Schalke with a couple of their starters injured, simply do not possess any players with equal calibre on their team.
SCHALKE’S STARS ON ACCUMULATED YELLOW CARDS
With Schalke’s talismanic players, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Kevin- Prince Boateng both on accumulated yellow cards, we might not see them at their usual competitive best as a yellow card in this game might rule them out of the crucial last match, that might decide qualification should they lose the match against the Blues.
Even though the Italian Roberto Di Matteo seems to have improved on Jans Keller’s poor results, he still has a long way to go, as it is expected that Mourinho will outclass him tactically.
Even if the German side were to lose this tie, against what is arguably the best team in the world at the moment, the German side will still have a chance at qualification come match day 6.