Andre Schurrle Shows He Has Key Role to Play for Chelsea in Steaua Rout
There had been a slight concern for the Blues heading into the game, given they had lost 1-0 in Romania to Steaua in the Europa League last season, but their return to the National Arena was an altogether better experience, with Jose Mourinho's team rampant.
One man in particular stood out for Chelsea on the night: Andre Schurrle.
Who was Chelsea's Man of the Match against Steaua Bucharest?
The German had missed Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to Basel on Matchday 1. Reinstated to the starting XI, he was magnificent, his direct approach causing the opposition problems for the entire 90 minutes.
Schurrle was directly involved in both of Ramires' goals, while his opposite number Daniel Georgievski will want to forget this game in a hurry after being terrorized by the Chelsea winger.
"He was fundamental [...] He was the man," commented Mourinho in his televised post-match interview with Sky Sports.
It may have been a short description of Schurrle's contribution, but one nonetheless true and to the point.
There have been times this season when Chelsea have been accused of playing too narrow. With an attacking midfield trio often including Eden Hazard and Oscar alongside any of Juan Mata, Willian or Kevin De Bruyne, Mourinho's team have struggled for width.
Based on Tuesday evening in Romania, it should no longer be an issue.
Schurrle worked his left channel tirelessly against Steaua, and with Georgievski struggling to contain him, his discipline in remaining out wide often led to Steaua's midfielders being forced to assist their teammate.
That stretched the game, allowing Mata and Oscar more space inside. They put it to good effect, with the home team unable to contain Chelsea's free-flowing football.
It was Schurrle's break beyond Georgievski on 20 minutes that opened the scoring, with the 22-year-old gliding beyond his marker before finding Samuel Eto'o in the box, whose mishit shot was delicately chipped over the goalkeeper by Ramires.
To complete Georgievski's torrid evening, he scored an own goal right on half-time to double Chelsea's lead and was again the fall guy when Ramires added a second.
Schurrle again outwitted him before accelerating down the left wing with his cross, eventually finding his Brazilian teammate, who made no mistake from 10 yards out to smash home Chelsea's third.
Mourinho was delighted, but it wasn't Ramires he was looking to congratulate—it was Schurrle. The Portuguese embraced the No. 14 as if it were he who had scored, whispering words of praise into his ear.
Jose Mourinho & Andre Schurrle share a big hug after Chelsea’s 3rd goal at Steaua [GIF, pic & video] http://t.co/YJdxjiqJ6y— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) October 1, 2013
It's praise Schurrle deserved for a job well done, and while Frank Lampard completed the rout with his long-range effort on 90 minutes, there was no doubting who would be catching the headlines.
Chelsea will surely face tougher opposition domestically and in Europe this term, but Schurrle's performance will be encouraging for Mourinho as he continues to mould his team.
The German only started due to Hazard's ankle injury, and on this evidence the Belgian will be rushing back to make sure he doesn't lose his starting place altogether.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?