Chelsea visit Schalke in a tough match in the UCL where they would be facing their old boss Roberto Di Matteo who won them the UCL trophy. On the back of consecutive wins and an unbeaten run, Chelsea are bound to be the favourites for the clash and all but confirm the top spot in the UCL group stage. But Schalke are no walkovers in this game. They have a passionate manager and have regained some form recently and have tweaked their tactics well. Chelsea will have to be on their guard at all times to negate the threat that some of the top quality players in Schalke possess. Last time out, Chelsea were held on to a 1-1 draw by a spirited Schalke team which played great counter attacking football despite being dominated fully by Chelsea in the first half. Chelsea had lost their zing when the Germans attacked with a lethal finish from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Schalke 04 vs Chelsea Team News:
Sead Kolasinac, Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan are out for the game as they are injured. Three other players in the form of Leon Goretzka, Sidney Sam and Chinedu Obasi are doubtful as well. On the other hand, Di Matteo would be happy that some of his key players are fit and running for the game as Boateng, Huntelaar and Choupo-Moting are in good touch.
Chelsea have had some injury niggles to Costa, Fabregas, Ramires , Remy and Schurrle but all four have made recoveries. Fabregas and Costa are fully fit while Remy and Ramires featured as substitutes in the weekend. Schurrle has also recovered and may feature in the Champions League. Apart from that, Chelsea have a healthy squad.
Schalke 04 vs Chelsea Tactics:
Di Matteo has been sharp with his direct tactics. He has chosen the 3-5-2 formation with advanced fullbacks Uchida and Fuchs playing box to box roles out wide. The flexibility in the formation allows Schalke to play a 5-3-2 when defending and a 3-5-2 while attacking. It is also interesting to note that two of the three midfielders are defensive midfielders usually being Neustadter and Hoger who are instructed to tackle and break up play as well as counter attack. With Boateng, Choupo-Moting and Huntelaar available for offence, Schalke are expected to play deep, which would use the tactic to get the best out of their front three, usually via long ball gameplay.
If Chelsea have to win this game, they’ll have to be sharp in their passing and hold possession with composure. It is highly likely that Schalke won’t initiate attacks and would draw Chelsea forward. With as good as 7 defensive players expected for Schalke to play in midweek, Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas is likely to become an important player along with Hazard and Oscar. The trio have been in tremendous form and are wreaking havoc with their sheer flair in passing, movements and dribbles. It is highly likely that Chelsea would utilize Ramires in defensive midfield to keep a check on the advancing fullbacks. Fabregas is likely to play a more advanced role.
Schalke 04 vs Chelsea Match Facts:
• Huntelaar and Boateng are both a booking away from a suspension.
• Felipe Santana (out since 30 August, adductor injury) and Matip (4 October, foot) returned to action on Saturday as Schalke scored three inside 25 minutes at home to VfL Wolfsburg, eventually winning 3-2.
• Christian Fuchs made it 3-0 against Wolfsburg, his first goal for club or country in two years and one day.
• Schalke have won four and lost three since Roberto Di Matteo was appointed on 7 October. All the wins have come at home, all the losses away
• Filipe Luís is a booking away from a suspension.
• The Blues are 18 matches unbeaten in 2014/15, winning 14. They have not lost since April’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg defeat at home against Club Atlético de Madrid.
• Diego Costa scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season as Chelsea won 2-0 at home to a West Bromwich Albion FC side who played with ten men for over an hour on Saturday.
• Fàbregas did not take part in either of Spain’s matches this month due to a minor hamstring problem but started on Saturday.
Facts complied from www.uefa.com
Schalke 04 vs Chelsea Expected Line Ups:
Schalke: Fahrmann; Kirchoff, Santana, Howedes(c), Fuchs, Uchida; Hoger, Neustadter, Boateng; Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(c), Luis; Ramires, Matic; Oscar, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa
Schalke 04 vs Chelsea Predicted Result
Schalke 0-1 Chelsea: It is tough to see Schalke conceding many goals considering their recent set-up. Chelsea would have done their research and have much better quality in attack so as to not score a goal. It is likely that this match would be a cagey affair which the Blues from the Bridge would win with a narrow margin.