Chelsea looks to masterful Mata against Shakhtar

Snubbed by Spain for recent internationals, Juan Mata has

reacted by producing arguably the best form of his career for

Chelasea, and Shakhtar Donetsk is up next for the playmaker in the

Champions League on Tuesday.

Mata has scored six goals and made a string of assists in his

last five games for Chelsea, showing he is fully refreshed after

being rested at the start of the season following appearances at

the European Championship and Olympics.

He’s still being overlooked by world champion Spain but Shakhtar

will know Mata is the danger man in the Group E match at the

Donbass Arena.

”I just try to improve with every Chelsea game I play,” Mata

said after scoring twice in Chelsea’s 4-2 win over Tottenham on

Saturday, maintaining his team’s four-point lead in the Premier

League. ”I just want to do my best for my team and, at this

moment, I am feeling really well.”

Both teams have four points – two ahead of Juventus, which will

be expecting consecutive wins from its upcoming matches against

Danish club FC Nordsjaelland.

Juve beat Napoli 2-0 in a top-of-the-table match in the Italian

league on Saturday, leaving the reigning champions unbeaten this

season – just like Chelsea.

”This sends a message that we’re (in form),” assistant coach

Angelo Alessio said. ”The numbers speak clearly. Seven victories

and a draw in eight (Serie A) matches, the best attack and the best

defense, solid play and organization.”

Juventus’ 2-2 draw with Chelsea on matchday one should leave the

group well poised through to the final round of games, with little

to split the top three.

Chelsea has started the season better than many would have

expected, quickly finding its stride as the European champions look

to add more creativity to their renowned strength in defense.

Attacking midfielders Eden Hazard and Oscar have settled quickly

after big-money moves in the summer and their link-up play with

Mata has been a joy to watch.

”We are playing more with the ball (this season) and I think

it’s more enjoyable for me and the team,” Mata said. ”If you can

win and also play really well, it is the perfect way.”

Shakhtar, which is 12 points clear at the top of the Ukraine

league, drew 1-1 away to Juventus in their last Champions League

match having opened with a 2-0 win over Nordsjaelland.

”It’s a higher level of play, especially since we’re meeting

Chelsea,” Shakhtar midfielder Willian said. ”We have to be

focused because if we play well, it’ll be a huge step for us and it

will allow us to advance in the tournament.”

Chelsea is expected to recall captain John Terry to its defense

after the center back was suspended for the victory at Tottenham

while he serves a four-match domestic ban for racially abusing an

opponent in a Premier League game. Neither Chelsea nor Shakhtar

have any new injury problems.

There are doubts over the fitness of Juventus goalkeeper

Gianluigi Buffon, who sat out both Italy’s win over Denmark last

week and the victory over Napoli.

Juventus manager Antonio Conte is suspended until December for a

match-fixing scandal stemming from when he coached Siena two

seasons ago.