Ranking the Top 10 Contenders for Champions League Glory

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Ranking the Top 10 Contenders for Champions League Glory
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Chelsea won't win the Champions League this year, but they will definitely be one of the top 10 contenders.

Last year was a fluke. Playing an uncharacteristic blanket defence and winning on the counter-attack won't work this year. Didier Drogba is gone.

This year the trophy will be won rather than lost. Last year, first Barcelona and then especially Bayern Munich managed to lose it. For the latter this was sheer carelessness, having done the same in 1999 to Manchester United.

In order to determine the top 10 contenders this year, we first have to project the 16 qualifiers from the Group stages.

Although it is still in its early stages, the tournament is in the main likely to be fairly predictable, based on what we've seen so far. So the projected final 16 is as follows:

Group A: FC Porto, Paris St Germain (PSG)

Group B: Arsenal, Schalke

Group C: Malaga, AC Milan

Group D: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund

Group E: Chelsea, Juventus

Group F: Bayern Munich, BATE Borisov

Group G: Barcelona, Benfica

Group H: Manchester United, Braga

Some may be surprised not to see Manchester City in the final 16. Just because you spend £1 billion on a football club doesn't guarantee success at all levels. Indeed, they probably won't even win the Premier League either.

They have not started well again in their Group, whereas Dortmund have shown they can translate their Bundesliga form onto the European stage. They were unlucky not to beat City in their first encounter.

So who do we pick from these for our top 10. Ultimately, of course the most likely final eight will depend on the draw, so there is an even bigger element of conjecture.

Nevertheless here they are. Please post your own comments and suggestions.

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