Chelsea proved completely undiminished without £32m signing Eden Hazard in their 3-0 win over Schalke, so the fact that he has incurred Jose Mourinho’s wrath for forgetting about training the day before the encounter shouldn’t unduly worry Chelsea fans.
More positively if the manager decides that Hazard needs a few further games off in order to remind him to take his job seriously it may give a player who has already proved himself more important to the team a chance to shine.
The west London billionaire’s plaything currently share 12/1 fourth favouritism in the bwin Champions League betting with their Gallic equivalents PSG.
All five matches the Blues have started without the Belgian this term have ended in victory.
Admittedly one of those vanquished foes was Swindon, but aside from the best team in Wiltshire Schalke have been comfortably booted into the long grass, as have Steaua Bucharest, Norwich and Arsenal.
Chelsea have won each of those tests by at least a two goal margin, indicating they lack nothing in terms of inventiveness when their poorest time keeper is missing from the eleven.
Hazard has provided one assist in 13 games under Jose Mourinho this term.
After finishing last season as the joint-second most prolific Premier League goal creator alongside Santi Cazorla, the former Lille creative has seemingly grown less enthralled with providing scoring opportunities for his blue-clad mateys.
In that quintet of matches the Blues have notched 14 goals for the concession of just one, proving his teammates are far from reliant on the Belgian for either creating or scoring goals.
Chelsea won less than a third and lost more than a third of the games in which Mata didn’t start last term.
In comparison they won 62 percent of the matches in which he did make the 11, losing just 19 per cent.
The loveable Spaniard’s presence had a far greater bearing on his side’s performance than Hazard’s, with only a very slight positive tweak to Chelsea’s results in games which the latter began on the pitch.
Mata also notched more goals and provided more assists than his fellow midfielder last term.