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Schalke vs. Chelsea: Score, Grades and Reaction from Champions League Game

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 26 Nov 2014

Chelsea guaranteed top spot in Champions League Group G with a brilliant 5-0 win at Schalke.December is a busy month for Premier League teams, but Chelsea will have one less thing to worry about after booking their place in the knockout stages with one game to play thanks to goals from John Terry, Willian, Didier Drogba and Ramires and an own goal from Jan Kirchhoff.Chelsea were simply sensational at times, and Jose Mourinho now has the luxury of being able to shuffle his pack for the final game of the campaigna home clash with Sporting.With that game against the Portuguese side sandwiched between Premier League clashes with Newcastle and Hull, Mourinho will make changes.Mourinho spoke in the lead-up to the match about how important it was for his players to take the game seriously:"Now we have two matches but it would be better for us to qualify here. We have so many matches in December, if we can avoid a crucial match and that pressure it would be very good for us."It appears the players paid heed to their managers words, as Chelsea flew out of the blocks. A quick break down the left saw Oscar send Diego Costa scampering clear.The Spain international drove into the box, cut inside and fired a low shot that was kicked behind by Schalke keeper Ralf Fahrmann.The danger was not averted, as from the resulting corner Chelsea took the lead. Cesc Fabregas is Chelseas assist king and added another to his haul with a deep corner for Terry, who rose above his marker to plant a header into the corner.10 - John Terry is only the fourth defender to score 10+ goals in the Champions League. Leader. OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 25, 2014One almost became two as another corner caused panic in the Schalke box. A loose ball fell to Branislav Ivanovic, but he lashed wildly at the ball and sent it flying over.Costa looks to be over the leg problem that has been troubling him and was his brilliant, threatening self in the early exchanges.On 10 minutes, he again drove into the box, leaving defenders in his wake. He attempted to cut the ball back into the path of Oscar, but the outstretched boot of Felipe Santana denied the Brazilian a shot on goal.It was a hugely impressive start from Chelsea, but they were given a warning as to Schalkes attacking threat on 13 minutes.Maxim Choupo-Moting's shot took a deflection off Gary Cahill and looped over Thibaut Courtois. Chelsea held their breath as the ball hit the crossbar and was cleared by Terry.Here's a closer look at #ChoupoMoting's effort. #S04CFC 0-1 pic.twitter.com/DWh8cbUBVO FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) November 25, 2014Mourinho appeared a little agitated shortly before the half-hour mark as he moved to the edge of his technical area and sent out instructions to Fabregas.It was highly likely the message was to counter the threat of Atsuto Uchida down Schalke's right flank. A matter of seconds after receiving his instructions, Fabregas played his part in Chelseas second on 29 minutes.A brilliant passing move involving Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Willian set the latter free to smash a low shot underneath Fahrmann.Absolutely gorgeous football from Chelsea, superb build-up with Cesc and Hazard involved, Willian smashes, Schalke fans applauding! #cfc Jack Rathborn (@jackrathborn) November 25, 2014Questions will be asked of the Schalke man, but the shot was struck with supreme power and was at an awkward position, low and just to the side of the keeper.A shocking back pass from Marco Hoger handed a gift to Costa. He looked set to take it by going round the keeper but slipped when all set to score, and Santana got back to clear.The imperious Fabregas would be a golfers dream, as his right foot can produce passes with the flight of both a 4-iron and a lob wedge. Shortly before the interval, he dinked an exquisite 10-yard chip over the top that found Oscar. The Brazilian struck his shot well from the middle of the box, but Fahrmann went some way to atoning with a reflex save.Cesc Fabregas half by numbers: 88% pass accuracy 1 assist 3 chances created 2 tackes won pic.twitter.com/1yrvI1h2wq Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 25, 2014Chelsea hardly needed any help, so dominant were the Blues. But a minute before the break, a torrid 45 minutes for Schalke was topped off when Kirchhoff inexplicably headed a Fabregas corner into his own net.The Schalke fans greeted the half-time whistle with whistles of their own; it was clear what they felt of their sides opening 45 minutes.There were cheers for Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo, but they were from the Chelsea faithful, who were paying homage to a Stamford Bridge legend.Chelsea did not take their foot off the gas at the start of the second half, and only last-ditch defending and wayward shooting denied them more goals.Di Matteo is a Chelsea legend, as is Drogba. Both were pivotal to the Blues' Champions League success in 2012.The chances of Di Matteo winning this season's competition are slim. Drogba's look better as he climbed off the bench to score Chelsea's fourth on 76 minutestapping home after Willian had unselfishly teed him up.Two minutes later, Drogba turned providercrossing for fellow sub Ramires to head home. It capped off a superb evening's work for Mourinho's Chelsea.Pains me to say it but you have to stand up and applaud Mourinho and Chelsea this season Andy Roberts (@AndyRobertsGolf) November 25, 2014Key Player RatingsCesc Fabregas: ADiego Costa may be the summer signing who has grabbed the headlines with his goals, but Fabregas has been just as important. Its a joy to watch the Spaniard stroll through games. Stroll suggests a lack of drive, but he appears to stroll because he is on a different level to everyone else. His awareness and use of the ball are simply superb.Willian: B+Mourinho has an embarrassment of riches in midfield. As such, when the fringe players are handed a chance they have to impress. Willian did exactly that with breathless running and was rewarded with a goal for his efforts.Nemanja Matic: B+While the likes of Costa, Fabregas, Hazard and Co. draw the eye in attack, Matics contribution should not be overlooked. He simply loves to break the hearts of rivals by breaking up their attacks and is pretty good at it, too. Schalke can attest to that, as he shielded his defence quite superbly.Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com
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