Buoyed by the hard-fought triumph over in-form Wolfsburg, Schalke will attempt to secure their progress into the Champions League knockout stages by defeating Chelsea at their Veltins Arena. That is easier said than done though given that the Blues are still unbeaten this season and go into this match on the back of another impressive Premier League showing.
Roberto Di Matteo up against his former employers
German giants Schalke haven’t exactly impressed in the new Bundesliga campaign, with dismal away record proving a major issue in the opening exchanges. That was one of the reasons why club chiefs decided to replace Jens Keller with former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo, but he is still unable to sort out team’s away form. Meanwhile, the Miners have been thoroughly impressive at their Veltins Arena, winning last four fixtures there, although Chelsea will be without a doubt the strongest opposition to arrive in Gelsenkirchen this season. Following back to back losses to Sporting Lisbon and Freiburg, Di Matteo sprung a tactical surprise as he fielded a three-man defence in the high-profile clash against Wolfsburg, which allowed the Miners to take a three-goal lead, albeit conceding two goals later in the game. Seeing as how they currently sit mere one point clear of third-placed Sporting, Schalke are aware they need to try and win the Chelsea clash, but getting something from one of Europe’s form sides could prove to be a very difficult task.
Joel Matip should return to the starting line-up, but Julian Draxler, Jefferson Farfan, Sead Kolasinac, Leon Goretzka, Sidney Sam and Chinedu Obasi remain in the infirmary.
The fact that some online bookmakers are already paying out on Chelsea winning the Premier League speaks volumes about the performances of Jose Mourinho’s charges this season. The Blues have shown incredible consistency, which is not that surprising given the perfect balance in the side and they continue going strong. The Blues are already eight points clear of holders Manchester City in the Premiership, while their Champions League campaign also goes according to plan. The Blues may have failed to beat Schalke at home and Maribor away, but having taken eight points so far, they remain the favourites for the first position. And with the Sunderland clash played four days after the match at Veltins Arena, Jose Mourinho can be trusted to field a very strong side against Schalke and try to secure the first position ahead of the final round of fixtures. With both Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas overcoming their respective injuries, the Blues produced a near-perfect performance against West Brom at the weekend and they should have won by a much bigger margin.
Jose Mourinho has revealed that he has fully fit squad to choose from, with Petr Cech and Ramires recovering from minor knocks.
Schalke may have done well in home fixtures on domestic stage, but with so many important players missing, I cannot see them matching red-hot Chelsea on Tuesday. The Blues are on top of their game at the moment and they look a good bet to win at Veltins Arena.
Top pick: Away win 1.87 (20/23) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 2.00 (1/1) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Chelsea to win to nil 3.25 (9/4) @ SkyBet