Chelsea took another large step towards the Champions League knockout phase with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Schalke last night.
Given the Blues had won in Germany by that same score two weeks earlier, the victory was hardly a surprise, although the fact that all three goals came from strikers may have had many in the stands rubbing their eyes with disbelief.
Having been recently rocked by the news that first choice forward Fernando Torres will be out for a while due to a leg injury, Jose Mourinho started with Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o up front and the striker repaid his faith with two goals.
The home side didn’t have things all their own way though and in fact Schalke started the better of the two sides, with wunderkind Julian Draxler and Adam Szalai both having decent chances in the opening stages.
Chelsea’s goal came just after the half hour and Schalke keeper Timo Hildebrand will not want to see it ever again. He dallied on the ball and Eto’o was able to close down quickly as Hildebrand went to clear, the ball deflecting into the goal.
Schalke again continued to press and had further opportunities either side of the break, Petr Cech denying Draxler on 52 minutes. The game could have turned on that moment and two minutes later it did, as Eto’o finished smartly after decent work by Willian to really finish the visitors off.
The victory was complete after 83 minutes when Demba Ba, on for the goalscorer, collected a pass from Frank Lampard before applying a nice finish with a volley on the turn as the ball looped over the defence.
3-0 slightly flattered Mourinho’s side but they dominated the game statistically and certainly deserved the win, a result that leaves them three points clear of Schalke at the top of Group A and in pole position to qualify.