Chelsea FC: 5 Reasons Why They Can Win the Champions League This Season
Looking at the facts, many people would say Chelsea winning the Champions League this season is a crazy idea—but they would be wrong.
There have been plenty of signs in recent weeks that this competition could bring the best out of the Blues and breathe new life into a club that has been on the periphery for far too long.
Here are five reasons why a season that started with a whimper could end with a Champions League bang.
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If you asked Roman Abramovich what competition he would most like to win, what would his answer be?
I think every Chelsea fan will give you the correct response. And recent managers have found that Champions League failure have resulted in a short stay at Stamford Bridge.
Andre Villas-Boas has no illusions about what is expected of him, and, with the likes of Lampard, Terry, Essien and Drogba not getting any younger, this could be their best chance for a few years to win that elusive trophy.
They are out of the Premier League race, and, although fourth place is a must, Arsenal and Liverpool are doing their best to make it pretty easy on that front.
The FA Cup is a bonus, but Napoli next week is where the season really starts.
With Arsenal as good as out of the competition and the two Manchester clubs playing Europa League ping-pong, there is no better incentive for the Londoners to excel on the biggest stage of all.
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The majority of the squad are well adjusted with Champions League football and what is expected of them.
They have celebrated and suffered in some of the biggest games the club has ever seen.
The loss to Manchester United in the final did a lot of damage both mentally and physically.
But three years later, those scars look to have healed with a very confident group stage showing.
To have the same players still at the club combining with the likes of Juan Mata and David Luiz could be a huge advantage as the competition progresses.
3) Style of Play
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Many believe the style of play Chelsea have become accustomed too is more suited to European football rather than the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
The squad certainly has added plenty of Continental talent over the past few seasons with the likes of Ramires, Mata and Luiz all making impacts on the pitch.
But it is no coincidence that many of their best performances have come in Europe. The pace can be a lot slower at times, and that suits plenty of Chelsea's players, who appreciate time on the ball.
Fernando Torres' cross to Mata last weekend against Manchester United is a prime example of giving quality players space—they will hurt you.
This was unusual as it was in the Premier League, but they can count on plenty more opportunities like that in Europe.
4) Teams Left in the Competition
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This season produced some of the biggest upsets in Champions League history. Who could have predicted the exits of Manchester United, Manchester City, Porto, Ajax and Valencia to name but a few?
Of course there are plenty of good teams still left in the competition. But, this year, there is certainly a fantastic chance of progressing to the latter stages without too many sleepless nights.
Barcelona are the standout side—and quite rightly so—but are currently trailing Real Madrid by an astonishing 10 points in La Liga, which gives plenty of teams that extra belief they can defeat Messi and Co.
It is certainly not just Villas-Boas who has problems at the moment. There have been rumblings aboutPep Guardiola's future at the club while Jose Mourinho continues to be linked with a return to England.
These could all prove useful distractions as the competition hots up. Bayern Munich and Inter Milan are not the sides they once were, while AC Milan's 4-0 demolition of Arsenal was more down to the Gunners' ineptitude rather than the Italians' dominance.
5) Fernando Torres
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Cmon, you didn't think you could read a Chelsea article without mentioning the Spaniard?!
But let's not focus on the constant negativity and look at the positives.
It's no surprise that the striker's goals have come in the Champions League this year, nor is it a surprise that he is still being picked in the starting lineup.
His performances have been mixed, but lately they have definitely been more good than bad. Torres has taken a lot of heat where perhaps certain other players in the team have plenty more to answer for.
Of course everyone is still waiting for the goals, the celebrations and the glory—not least the 27-year-old himself. But with Euro 2012 on the horizon, the forward will be desperate to reclaim his place in the national side, and what better way than helping his team lift that elusive trophy in Munich on May 19.