The Champions League isn't looking too pretty for Premier League teams at the moment.
Holding the Premier League's best chance of progressing to the quarterfinals, Chelsea at least managed a goal in their first knockout fixture—but it wasn't decisive—as the Blues drew 1-1 against Galatasaray.
Chelsea's Achilles heel reared its ugly head in Istanbul, when the Turkish champions scored from a corner kick. Manager Jose Mourinho joked earlier in the season about dead-ball situations:
Despite their defensive lapse, Chelsea's away goal is a precious commodity; with Mourinho's impeccable home record, you'd certainly back the Blues to grind out the result they need at the Bridge on 18 March.
But where does that leave Mourinho's men in the UCL quarterfinals?
Difficult draws all the way round.
The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski can win matches single-handedly; their teams being juggernauts only add to their formidability.
The question becomes: Who on Chelsea's roster can be relied upon to win a game?
The scaffolding for Chelsea's position atop the Premier League is defence. They've allowed the fewest goals (h/t Yahoo Sport) so far in their domestic campaign—and in turn have the most points—but aren't in the habit of netting three, four or five goals.
Chances come with the product, goals have been sold separately, in large part because the Blues lack what their Champions League rivals have—ruthless, clinical attackers in front of goal.
In a power ranking of the contending pack, Chelsea may sit sixth.
(1) Bayern Munich, (2) Real Madrid, (3) Barcelona, (4) Paris Saint-Germain and (5) Borussia Dortmund should all have better odds; ties with either of those five would give an offensively inept, albeit miserly, Chelsea bags of trouble.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have teams built to win now; Chelsea has a team built to challenge and develop, but not to win.
To be a "legitimate threat" you must have multiple players who can win you games. The men from West London are two world-class players away from carrying that distinction.
If there's a modicum of hope, it comes via the manager.
Mourinho is arguably the world's best—he certainly has the trophies to make an argument; and if there's a game for your life and you needed a result, a draw, 1-0 or 2-0, the Special One would be a wise choice should you wish to live. But 90 minutes of football can lie, whereas three hours normally tells the truth.
Over the course of two legs, you'd back a team who scores for fun over a team that struggles to score.
So, to answer the headline: Are Chelsea a Legitimate Threat to Win the Champions League?
Not this year.
As Mourinho has been saying all season, the 2013-14 campaign is a period of transition and evolution. A time for the players and manager to acclimate with each other and become comfortable with the new tactics being implemented, so as to hit the ground running in year two.
Being in positions of success is a great sign of improvement, but expecting to win this season is a bridge too far.
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