If last years Champions League victory was a miracle, then a second successive one, would truly be an act of god for the Stamford Bridge side.
Despite possessing arguably a better team this term, as well as having the mental ability to win the trophy, whilst surrounded by the problems we faced last year, I think this year will see one of the Spanish giants, Barcelona or Real Madrid pick up the coveted prize.
Last year was truly an underdog story, with us against the odds, and the pundits, in both the Barcelona and Bayern games, written off before the games commenced, the winners had already been decided. Therefore, it would be silly to write off any team wouldn’t it? Especially the reigning Champions?
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In this case, I think our new, revitalised team, will be a handicap this season on the continental stage. Should we face either of the Spaniards, I think we would come unstuck; with our free-flowing, attacking style that we have witnessed so far, not quite matching that of either Madrid or Barca.
Two superb defensive displays won us the trophy last year, with a certain Didier Drogba playing a starring role, another vital piece of that jigsaw that we will miss heavily this year. As you will remember, the Ivorians best displays came on the continental stage last season, scoring 6 goals in just 8 games, whilst he managed less goals in the 24 Premier League games he played in.
The Oscar, Hazard, and Mata partnership has flourished so far in the league, and ripped apart Tottenham on Sunday, and may well do the same against the likes of Shahktar on Tuesday, and some of the lesser ability teams in the competition.
Another reason why I don’t believe we can lift the Champions League this season, is our league form. The Premier League is a much more realistic title aim, and with seven wins from eight matches, we have started on that particular road very well, but of course, it is unlikely to be as simple as that all season. However, should we end up 15 points clear with 6 games left, and in the Champions League semi-finals, expect priority to be turned there.
I fully expect us to out-do both Manchester clubs and lift the title this season, and possibly either the League or FA Cup, but I think anywhere further than the semi-finals in Europe is pushing it.
Unless both Spanish giants and the likes of Bayern fall foul to a big shock before then, I think our new, free-scoring, creative forward line, will hit an agonising, but predictable, semi-final defeat.
By Brad Smith