Chelsea travel away to FC Schalke as they look to move closer to the top of their group in the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho’s side haven’t been spectacular this season but then that’s not what the Portuguese coach does. He’s a results man and he’ll be happy with three points against Schalke in any way they arrive.
Chelsea will be confident heading into this game for several reasons, aided by the fact Schalke have up to eight first team players unavailable through injury. A win for the Blues will put them onto six points alongside their opponents for this game.
Here’s how the sides shape up against each other in key areas.
Chelsea are ahead in terms of goals on the counter attack which is significant as that’s how Mourinho may set his side up to play in this game.
The possession stats suggest that Chelsea are better at dominating the ball with 57% of possession in games this season compared to Schalke’s 52%.
If Chelsea can get on the ball and protect it well, they have a great chance of frustrating the German team, trying to force a mistake if they are finding it difficult to break through a hardened Schalke defence.
The more time Chelsea have the ball, the less time their opponent’s have to score.
If Chelsea can use the ball well and retain possession, the discipline stats suggest they could frustrate their opponents.
Chelsea have seen ten yellow cards and one red so far this season while Schalke players have been shown 11 yellow cards and two reds so far this season.
Needless to say if Chelsea can put pressure on Schalke in a disciplinary sense, any numerical advantage they get through a dismissal will make their job of getting a result easier.
Chelsea are way out ahead in terms of aerial duels winning 58% compared to 46%.
If Chelsea try and break through Schalke but are met with two banks of four and a potentially difficult night at the office, the numbers suggest they can go more aerial, utilising set pieces to try and get out ahead.
Schalke are also conceding more shots on their own goal per game with 14 compared to ten.
That suggests that if Chelsea stay patient, they will get chances to send efforts towards Schalke’s goal. Considering the talent they have in their midfield and the experience they boast up front, that could be telling after 90 minutes.
However, Schalke are blocking more efforts on their own goal than Chelsea which shows a determined and dogged mentality.
Tackles and Interceptions
The stats suggest that Schalke are much more active in terms of trying to win the ball back through tackles and interceptions.
They are making 22 tackles per game and 14 interceptions compared to Chelsea’s 18 tackles per match and seven interceptions.
What that tells us is that Chelsea are much more content to let their opponent’s have the ball in areas where it’s not going to hurt them, actively trying to win possession back when danger closes in on their own goal.
Schalke seem to put a lot of their eggs in the play down the right hand side basket, with ten per cent more of their attacks coming from the right than any other area. Chelsea show a lot more variety with just a two per cent difference across the pitch in their build up play.
Which way do you see this match going?
image: © Jason Bagley