Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Chelsea FC

Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Chelsea FC

With club football having resumed this weekend as players returned from international duty, how could Champions League football be far behind? The Champions League is back this week. And Chelsea, the current holders of European club football’s most coveted prize (it never gets old, does it?) face a tricky fixture away from home as they take on Shakhtar Donetsk.

Chelsea have had an unbeaten start to both the Premier League and the Champions League this season, wowing one and all with a flashy, attacking style of play that has often left the opposition dumbfounded. In the Premier League, Chelsea have dropped points only against QPR, seeing off all other opposition in style. In 2 Champions League matches, Chelsea drew against Juventus and comfortably saw off Nordsjaelland. However, Shakhtar’s form has been no different. They are unbeaten in the Premier League (Ukraine’s league) after 12 matches, winning all of these matches so far. In the Champions League, they have also won one and drawn the other. It’s fair to say that both teams are in flying form at the moment.

Chelsea won’t be resting too many players for this fixture. Shakhtar are never an easy team to beat, and the fact that this is an away match means that Chelsea can’t afford to take it lightly at all. In our previous Champions League encounter away from home against Nordsjaelland, the Danish team took the game to Chelsea at one point and almost made us pay for not taking our chances. And Shakhtar are a much stronger team who have played in the Champions League before. Nevertheless, one can expect an attacking, open-ended 90 minutes at the Donbass Arena, especially if Mazacar (Mata-Hazard-Oscar) decide to weave their magic.

Key Players:

ChelseaJuan Mata. The Spaniard has been revitalized since he was given an extended break by Chelsea and has been scoring goals and providing assists for fun. Expect Chelsea’s No. 10 to be at the heart of every one of Chelsea’s attacking moves.

Shakhtar DonetskWillian. The Brazilian winger was a Chelsea target during the summer, and with good reason. He’s fast, tricky and has the ability to turn the match on its head in a second. He won’t be easy to contain.

Key Stats: 

1) Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 8 Champions League matches stretching back to March 2012.

2) Prior to beating Nordsjaelland 2-0 at home on Matchday 1, Shakhtar had failed to register a home win in the CL in 4 previous attempts.

Prediction: Shakhtar 1-3 Chelsea

Shayne Dias 

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