Can Tuchel Repeat in Europe? Evaluating Chelsea UCL Title Chances

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On a CBS Sports press call yesterday, Manchester United Legend Peter Schmeichel was asked about Chelsea’s chances of defending their Champions League title this season. The legendary goalkeeper had this to say:

“I think Chelsea is definitely in there with a realistic shot of defending their title. I think the signing of (Romelu) Lukaku is massive.”

So that now begs the question, can Chelsea back up last season’s incredible run to the trophy? Let’s find out.

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FYIs

Kickoff: Sat Sept 11, 3pm BST, Stamford Bridge, TV: NBC

Chelsea Starting XI Prediction: go here

Team News for Both Sides: go here

Premier League Weekly Podcast: go here

Premier League Position: Chelsea 4th, 7pts  Aston Villa 11th, 4 pts.

ANALYSING THEIR GROUP

Chelsea has been handed a potentially tricky group to begin the defense of their title. They face a long-haul trip to Russia on the final matchday to face Zenit. They will hope to have their place in the knockout phase secured by then, with the Premier League fixture list going into overdrive by that time. 

Along with the tricky Russia trip, they also face recently deposed Italian champions Juventus. In my opinion, however, Juventus aren’t the threat they once were without Cristiano Ronaldo.

cristiano ronaldo

Also, I don’t think it’s any secret that Andrea Pirlo’s managerial career is nothing like his legendary playing career.

 

Malmo is the other team in the group. Frankly, I think Malmo will struggle to get points in any of their fixtures. Tuchel could play a second squad, and I would still expect the Blues to pick up all six points.

With all this in mind, I predict Chelsea to end their group with somewhere between 13-15 points. That should be enough to secure the top spot in the group and an easier draw to begin the knockout phases; at least in theory.

SQUAD DEPTH

Chelsea’s squad is stronger this season than the season that just completed. And that should terrify other sides. The signing of Romelu Lukaku should guarantee them at the very least, 25 extra goals across all competitions, which was what they were missing last season.

In defense, I am of the opinion that Antonio Rudiger has taken his game to the next level under Tuchel and that should solidify the center half position. Along with the likes of Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen, I predict the defense will remain pretty mean.

Midfield is a position where the Blues are spoiled for choice. The addition of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid only improves the center of the park for them.

A center of the park that is littered with world-class stars from Mason Mount to Jorginho.

THE BOTTOM LINE

On paper, Chelsea has the squad to go deep in the competition. With the addition of Lukaku, they have the firepower to blow teams away. If he’s having an off day, then the likes of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, or Christian Pulisic can definitely shoulder the responsibility from time to time.

Their group shouldn’t hold any great fears for them either. As long as there are no early slip-ups, it should be a fairly straightforward group for a team like theirs to qualify from.

Once you’ve qualified for the last 16, a bit of luck can help you go all the way.

Unfortunately Blues fans, as rosy as things look for the incumbent champions, I think there are squads in this competition that look even stronger than Chelsea’s. I just don’t see this Chelsea side overcoming PSG or Manchester City in the latter stages of the knockout rounds.

I think Chelsea’s best-case scenario sees them fall agonizingly short in the 21/22 edition of the Champions League.

Comments

  1. ahmad never give up says

    well…i still get up for chelsea for this champions league

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