Unbeaten Shakhtar waits for Chelsea's entertainers
Updated: 2012-10-23 08:05
By Agence France-Presse in Donetsk, Ukraine (China Daily)
Chelsea has vowed to persist with the dashing soccer that has taken it four points clear in the Premier League, ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to in-form Shakhtar Donetsk.
In a far cry from last season's backs-to-the-wall success in the Champions League, Chelsea owes its early season momentum to expansive, attacking soccer illuminated by individual flourishes.
The London club's new face was in evidence again at White Hart Lane on Saturday, when it stormed back from 2-1 down against Tottenham Hotspur to win 4-2 and thereby galvanize its grip on first place.
It was Chelsea's first win at Spurs in the league since August 2005 and man-of-the-match Juan Mata said such performances only made the squad more determined to pursue the philosophy that has taken root under Roberto Di Matteo.
"If you win and you can play as we played at Tottenham, that is the best way to play," said the Spaniard, who scored twice and made a goal for Daniel Sturridge.
"We are playing well and we are all enjoying this moment. What we need to do is keep training hard and now we play Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and we want to stay at the top of our group in the Champions League."
Chelsea's 4-0 win at FC Nordsjaelland in its last outing put it top of Group E, but it leads Shakhtar by goal difference alone and cannot compete with the Ukrainian champion when it comes to recent form.
Shakhtar's 2-1 win over Illichivets Mariupol on Friday was its 21st consecutive league win - a Ukrainian Premier League record - and made it the first team from Ukraine to win its opening 12 games in a top-flight season.
Mircea Lucescu's men are already 12 points clear of their nearest domestic challengers, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, and they have managed to carry that rhythm into the European arena as well.
Two-nil victors over Nordsjaelland in their opening game, they produced a superb performance to draw 1-1 at Juventus three weeks ago and might have taken all three points had an attempt by Willian not hit the bar in injury time.
(China Daily 10/23/2012 page22)