Chelsea’s dream selection in Monday's Champions League draw is to get Turkey for Christmas. Specifically, Besiktas. It looks like the least perplexing option when you consider the two alternatives... Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain. "If you want to go through and be a protagonist in this tournament, you must be ready to face every team," said Tony
Chelsea’s dream selection in Monday’s Champions League draw is to get Turkey for Christmas.
Specifically, Besiktas. It looks like the least perplexing option when you consider the two alternatives… Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain.
“If you want to go through and be a protagonist in this tournament, you must be ready to face every team,” said Tony Conte after the midweek draw against Atletico which pushed the Blues back to second place in the mini group. “At the same time our opponent won’t be happy to play against us. We will see what happens,” he added, before flinging in the disarming line: “Sometimes it’s not important.”
Premier League clubs have made Champions League history, with five qualifying for the knockout stage, severely limiting Chelsea’s options as the Blues are not allowed to face Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United or Tottenham, who have all progressed to the last 16.
United earnt their place at the top table by mimicking Chelsea and winning the Europa League.
The draw takes place on Monday at 11am, with Chelsea’s choice of three opponents the most severely limited. Man U, the Group A winners, could meet Bayern Munich, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto or Real Madrid.
Liverpool, the Group E winners, will be in the pot with Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto and Real Madrid – so could face a really tough opponent, although their current form up-front suggests they fear nobody as they start edging Spurs and Arsenal domestically.
Indeed – although we are still in December – it is shaping up to be a four-way Premier League fight between Chelsea, Liverpool and the two Mancs.
Manchester City, Group F winners, will next play either Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Sevilla, Porto or Real Madrid, while Spurs, winners of Group H, will be playing Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk or Porto.
Conte knows it’s a real challenge, whether the Blues are lucky and draw Besiktas, or have a tougher outcome. “This season is very tough,” he said. “You have to play a lot of games, but when you arrive at the final stage to play for quarter-finals, semi-finals, the English teams have a lot of games in their legs. For this reason I think it could be problematic to win the Champions League.”
Featured: Santa Claus is coming to town, and Blues hope for Turkey in the draw