A second 3-0 win over Schalke in as many weeks put Chelsea in command of Champions League Group E. Samuel Eto’o struck either of half time to give Chelsea control of the contest at Stamford Bridge before Demba Ba came off the bench to add a third late on. The result puts Chelsea onto nine points, three points clear of the German side and four above Basel, who had inflicted such a disappointing start to the group on Jose Mourinho’s men with a victory on Matchday One.
That shock defeat now looks unlikely to be a factor as Chelsea march toward the knockout phase. On everyone’s mind before Wednesday’s encounter was another surprise loss, at Newcastle United at the weekend. Mourinho duly fulfilled his claim that he would make swift changes to his lineup and named six alterations to the team that came up short at St James’ Park.
It was one of the enforced changes that paid most dividends. With Fernando Torres injured, Eto’o was handed a start and the Cameroonian’s tenacity led to a calamitous opening goal in the 31st minute. Timo Hildebrand took far too long making a clearance on the edge of his own box and then failed to see the presence of Eto’o closing him down as he struck the ball against the striker and could only watch on as it rolled into the empty net.
It was another of the players who came into the side that set up Chelsea’s second goal nine minutes after the interval. Willian broke superbly through the middle of the pitch before laying it to his right for Eto’o who struck low and powerfully across Hildebrand and into the far corner.
Eto’o’s replacement then put the result beyond any doubt with seven minutes remaining. Willian was again involved, getting the ball to Frank Lampard on the edge of the box and the substitute helped it over the Schalke defense for Ba to volley impressively into the net.