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Nightmare Champions league scenario

Nightmare Champions league scenario

As I watched PSG coast to the quarter finals of the Champions league earlier today it occurred to me that the quarter finals this year will be full of marquee teams. Gone are the days when the quarter finals could involve two to three dark horse teams who every one else wanted to play. If we manage to do the business against Galatasaray essentially this years quarters will have only one team that all the other 7 will be hoping to draw and without a doubt that team will be the team that emerges from the ManU-Olympiakos tie. Frankly and with all due deference to ManU and Olympiakos the truth is that those two are a cut significantly less than the rest. Right now the first four are set; Barca, Bayern, PSG and Atletico Madrid. Of the remaining 4 spots we all know that two are forgone conclusions; Real and Borrussia Dortmund can essentially be penciled in. The only questions to be asked for next week are if Manu can somehow managed to score three against a very stubborn Olympiakos side while not conceding (i doubt it but time will tell) and whether we can do the expected and dispatch Galatasaray despite the presence of king Drogs and Roberto Mancini.

Without looking beyond Gala as I look at the remaining 7 potential opponents I would be lying if I said I wasn`t hoping that we end up being the lucky team that draws either ManU or Olymipiakos because none of the other teams will be anything short of an absolute battle Royal to advance. Of all the other possibilities though the one that scares me the most if the prospect of being picked to play Atletico Madrid.

This side scares the jibbers out of me and reminds of how Borussia were last year. I know that all the other 7 teams especially Real and Barca will be praying and fasting hard not to meet Atletico. They have seen enough of them in La Liga and the Copa Del rey experiences and playing Atletico whether you win, lose or draw is never fun because here is a team that is an oddity. You come away after a match aginst Atleti win,lose or draw knowing you have been in a match with bruises,scars and so=re muscles as testaments to that. This is a side that will fight you tooth and nail for the full 90 minutes of the encounter. no quarter will be given or expected. They are a La Liga team built with the discipline and work ethic of a BPL team. They are that exception in La Liga that actually know how to defend and can do it not be starving the opponent of possession ala Barca style but with the backs against the wall, defiant bunker mentality double banks of 4 system that we made famous in our own champions league run. This is a team that can park the bus with the best of them and are demons at the art of counter attacking footie. They are masters at transitioning from deep defense to attack and goals scored in a twinkle of an eye. This is a team with a deadly and complete striker on a hot streak of form in Diego Costa as well as a wily old veteran goal scorer in David Villa who despite losing a step is still a very dangerous goal scorer if underestimated. This is a team with a manager who reminds me in many ways of a younger Jose,.. Charismatic, shrewd, a master motivator and a deft man manager, a tactician per excellence and one who appreciates and understands the art and importance of defense as a football art form and a means to winning games. This side like us can play some pretty footy but are quite capable of grinding out ugly wins. Beyond all this though another serious source for concern for me if we get drawn to play Atletico is the man child Thibaut Courtois.

Honestly I don`t know what if anything the UEFA regulations have to say in this situation regarding his eligibility to play. If this had been an FA sanctioned tie since he is our player on loan to them he would be ineligible to play against us. I don`t know how this applies in the Champions league though and anyone who knows for sure should be please chime in here. IF in fact as with our ill fated supercup encounter a few years back with the Roji Blancos the choice of Thibaut`s participation in such a tie is left to us his parent club I will say it right now; we would be absolutely crazy to allow him play for them in that tie. The super cup is one thing..many view it as a glorified friendly match (I don`t happen to be one of those who hold that opinion BTW), but this is the champions league we are talking about. This is access to the Semis that would be at stake were we to be drawn against Atletico. If the choice is left to Chelsea FC by UEFA we must absolutely put the foot down and insist Thiibaut does not play in that tie because trust me against a side the quality and nature of Atletico Madrid we will need every advantage we can get.

I really could care less what the media narrative is, how Atleti whine, how Thibaut feels or how other fans would castigate our club..our first priority must be to win by any means necessary that remains within the written law and regulations. The few games this year that Thibaut could not play for Atleti because of back injury showed just how important he is to that side and how dependent they are on him. They floundered badly in those games as their back up goalie makes Fabianski of ~ 3yrs ago and Huerelho Gomez look world class. That guys gaffes cost them heavily in the Copa del Rey and in the critical losses in La Liga that saw them lose their top spot in La Liga a few weeks back. In essence thus if we have the chance and option we absolutely want that guy manning their posts rather than Thibaut and I could care less how thibaut would feel about this. We are not a charity organization but a pro footie team that is greedy for trophies and addicted to winning.

Now if as I suspect as per UEFA rules thibaut can feature against us his parent team you can be certain the guy will be super motivated and may turn in man of the match blinder performances in the two ties of the series. Jose knows how that can look as he was a first hand witness when Thibaut almost singlehandedly ensured Atleti`s Copa Del Rey Victory last year against Real at the Bernabeu. He will doubtless want to send a loud message regarding how he compares to Petr Cech and I for one have never doubted the lads ability. This is one duel i dont want to see. Frankly I don`t look forward to having to face him or that side.

Finally if by some good fortune Atleti run into a buzz saw like Bayern or PSG and meet their waterloo there I will feel sad for them but relieved that we didn`t draw them in the quarters (hoping DV that we get past Gala). The final question I have for the VC faithful is this; If we are unlucky not get the winner of the ManU-Olympiakos tie and fortunate not to draw Atleti in the quarters who would you rather have us face? PSG, Bayern, Real, Barca or Borussia Dortmund?

Call me mad but of that group honestly I would rather face Dortmund at that stage than any of the others. I don`t think we will win the Champions league this season but it would be nice to have some of the big boys paired to play each other in the quarters to clear the field before the semis. With a little luck and good fortune we could actually reach the Semis or even the finals. If we manage to get to the finals in a one off match at the neutral ground of Lisbon (which will have a home feel because of the Jose home factor) and with the 'happy one' managing us I would fancy our chances against any of these other teams but in a two legged series home and away that would be a totally different proposition. I just feel that right now we match up best against a team like Dortmund than any of the others. Your thoughts and comments are all welcome. KTBFFH!!!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday March 13 2014
Time: 3:30AM


I hope we get Olympiakos out them and United. I have a feeling we cant stop Atletico playing TC. IF we can, then they would be my favourite or second favourite team to come up against
13/03/2014 03:54:00
I'll prefer we play bayern if we don't get the aforementioned teams (olympiakos/united or dortmund). They are easy to beat imo.
don delsy
13/03/2014 05:28:00
Excellent piece gabeu,.i can remember in the event of our super cup 2012{uefa organized}, christophe lollichon{our goalkeeper trainer} had to be consulted and he was the one that gave the verdict that TC can i think the decision lies with chelsea rest assured that two of spanish contigents will have to face eachother[it happen to us & utd in 2011,ancelloti's 2nd season]..and i think we all know which spanish club uefa and platini will rather want ousted at that stage.i dont think we can play manutd{if they qualified] unless we both reach the semi-final stage..i will prefer we get psg or dortmund incase we dont get olympiacos[if they eliminate utd] or athletico.
Ige Bosun
13/03/2014 05:51:00
anyone but Real Madrid!
HGH Magic
13/03/2014 05:53:00
Courtois needed permission from Chelsea to play in the super cup.
13/03/2014 06:08:00
though I really couldn't care less as the PL is my priority
HGH Magic
13/03/2014 06:27:00
we can easily meet any team once we reach quarter final.chelsea can beat any team on there day.
13/03/2014 06:35:00
Madrid isn't part of any team I guess....@olad.
don delsy
13/03/2014 07:33:00
I don't care who we get just as long as we beat them! I really don't get why fans fget scared of facing teams! we are Chelsea fc we beat anyone on any day if we do it right! we have beaten baca when they were ten times as good as they are now! we beat Bayern(in there backyard) when they were and they were better under heynckes! Even if we are down to 10 men we can still beat anybody on this planet! so instead of worrying about who we will face next next lets just enjoy being Chelsea fc and I bet every single other team in this competition DOES NOT want t play us in the next round! who would we just seem to dig deeper than any team and fight for every inch of turf! we have jose who grates every other manager and team and fans to a point where they lose there cool and things start to crack. Lets enjoy the champions league and lets go out there and scare the feck out the next tea(if we o through) to death! I like the sound of Pars myself.
13/03/2014 08:13:00
Yeah...anyone but madrid. Bayern and barca are beatable, and we will easily beat dortmund,athletico and psg over two legs...the best teams don't usually win it..coyb.
13/03/2014 08:47:00
I'm sure bayern and barca will be seriously fasting and praying not to be drawn against us in the next round.
13/03/2014 08:48:00
chelsea/gala vs madrid, barca vs byern, psg vs man/oly, atletico vs dortm.
13/03/2014 08:52:00
I agree that it would be terrifying to face Atletico Madrid but if we avoid them AND we avoid Olympiakos or Man United then I'd probably fancy Dortmund too. Jose should have learned his lesson from last season and with their side not as good as last season, we can make the last four.
13/03/2014 08:54:00
I think PSG would be a good pairing if we don't get Oly/MNU. The other teams will also be praying to avoid Chelsea. At this point if we really wanna lift the cup a record 2nd time, we should be ready to play and win against the best
13/03/2014 09:00:00
2 would tie us with Nottingham Forest, 3 would be Man United, 4 would make us second, 5 would be equalling Liverpool and 6, goodness me we do have history!
13/03/2014 09:23:00
Don't know if anyone agrees but I have watched the champions league games and no team has really been impressive so to be honest I'm not worried who we get
13/03/2014 09:51:00
If you want win the league then you will have to face big teams at some point. I don't fear any team, may be because I think we don't have any realistic chance of winning it. It is a question of featuring in Semis. If we had Matic in the CL squad may be we could have done the business. Our focus should be PL. If we can progress beyonf the QF in the CL then its bonus.
Keyser Soze
13/03/2014 12:09:00
Truism from Dave-David.
13/03/2014 12:09:00
Btw, I wonder if any of the remaining team would be happy to play against a Mourinho led team particularly a Mourinho led CHelsea. They would also know they won't have it easy against us. Yeah I also don't get why we have to fear anyone, we have beaten every big clubs in the recent past apart from Real (we have not played them). Yeah we can respect them but fear? NO
Keyser Soze
13/03/2014 12:12:00
You guys are overrating Athletico, we will beat them.
13/03/2014 12:51:00
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