Chelsea suffered their first set-back of the season as the points were shared in an open contest at Stamford Bridge.
Fabregas’ early opener put Chelsea in cruise control, and the Blues looked like only adding more to their tally with a string of clear-cut chances. But Huntelaar’s equaliser forced Chelsea into desperation mode towards the end of the game, to no avail, meaning Mourinho and his men will have to settle for a point only.
It was the fast start Mourinho would have wanted. Fabregas fought aggressively for a loose ball and whilst his challenger continued to protest for a foul, the Spaniard dusted himself down, got on the receiving end of a Hazard reverse pass and slotted home his first Chelsea goal, much to the anger of the Schalke team.
The Spaniard, who has set up a goal in every Premier League match this season thus far, would have been delighted to finally score one for himself, but it could have been another had he showed similar composure in the 37th minute. A strong Chelsea surge down the right-wing saw Ivanovic pull back to Fabregas in acres of space, but on his weaker left-foot and the ball coming to him at pace, the former Arsenal man sliced his shot into Row Z.
Drogba, in his first Chelsea Champions League outing since that night in Munich, had a headed opportunity well saved, but the first-half was not without its troubles for the home side, none more so than in the final minute. Draxler managed to squirm his way through four Chelsea defenders and the Blues were lucky to escape when the 20-year-old could only drag his shot wide of Courtois’ goal.
John Terry, in his 600th start for the Blues, saw his glorious left-foot volley arrow into the back of the net but for the referee to pull play back for an earlier foul, and just as Chelsea were increasing the ante with Drogba coming close minutes later, Schalke hit back.
Fabregas was dispossessed in the Schalke half and the visitors were quick to drive up the field. Huntelaar cut back in on his favoured side and fired through Cahill’s legs and past Courtois. It was a sucker-punch to Chelsea’s performance.
Costa and Remy joined the party as Chelsea forced for it late on. The latter surely thought he had scored from a corner but for an excellent goal-line block. Hazard continued to pester, twice with huge opportunities to snatch it late. But there was no budging a make-shift, but tremendously resolute, Schalke back-line.
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Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: Though not on the score-sheet, Hazard was at the centre of every Chelsea attack. His assist for the Fabregas goal was smart, and the Belgian leaves defenders in his wake with his dribbling ability. No goal tonight, but Chelsea’s best player. 8/10
Jose Mourinho was left to rue missed opportunities: “It is not the best result but it is a result. It was frustrating because we had very good chances to make it 2-0 but we didn’t take them. We always try to score goals. They fought hard to get the point.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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