'Dashing' Chelsea ready for Shakhtar Donetsk
Chelsea have vowed to persist with the dashing soccer that has taken them four points clear in the Premier League, as they prepare for today's trip to in-form Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
In a far cry from last season's backs-to-the-wall success in the Champions League, Chelsea owe their early-season momentum to expansive, attacking soccer illuminated by individual flourishes.
The London club's new face was in evidence again last Saturday, when they stormed back from 2-1 down against Tottenham Hotspur to win 4-2 and thereby galvanise their 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 had 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 Mata, who scored twice. "We are playing well and we are all enjoying this moment. What we need to do is keep training hard."
Chelsea's 4-0 win at Danish debutants FC Nordsjaelland in their last outing put them top of group E, but they lead Shakhtar by goal difference alone and cannot compete with the Ukrainian champions when it comes to recent form.
Shakhtar's 2-1 win over Illichivets Mariupol last Friday was their 21st consecutive league win - a Ukrainian Premier League record - and made them the first team from Ukraine to win their opening 12 games in a top-flight season.