Since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the subsequent arrival of José Mourinho, Chelsea have been tipped as hot favourites to lift the Premier League crown next May.

Whilst the Blues fell short in 2012/13, patches at the beginning and end of the last campaign more than demonstrated their title credentials with breathtaking performances against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in those periods.

The excitement of the new Premier League season has perhaps understandably led to many overlooking the Champions League campaign. 

Whilst Bayern Munich will undoubtedly be favourites to retain their trophy, Mourinho will relish the opportunity to get under the skin of Pep Guardiola ahead of their forthcoming UEFA Super Cup clash.

Whilst Mourinho's criticism of the Europa League could be seen as a thinly veiled dig at nemesis Rafael Benitez, there could be a hidden agenda behind those comments, suggesting he believes his side are far above a competition of that stature. 

Given Chelsea's poor performance in the Champions League last season, there is plenty for the players to prove. 

In David Luiz and Juan Mata, they have two of the best players in the Premier League, as well as bright prospects in Eden Hazard, Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. 

As much as Mata has been a revelation for Chelsea - arguably his best performances for the Londoners have come in the Premier League - he has yet to excel in the Champions League to truly elevate his status, that undoubtedly see him as first choice for the Spain national team ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

When you look across Europe, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are vulnerable in the sense that they approach this campaign with a manager that has never managed them before, and the same applies to both Manchester clubs as well as Bayern Munich. 

Further afield, even Paris Saint-Germain have gone through managerial change. Other than Bayern Munich, there is no real standout side in the Champions League at this moment in time.

Chelsea are a young and exuberant side, but with youth, often comes inexperience and inexperience inevitably leads to lack of consistency. That may suggest that the Blues are better equipped to win the Champions League. 

Chelsea have proven over the last two seasons they have the experience and know-how to win in Europe, and can take both experiences into the new campaign. 

Not long after Mourinho was appointed Real Madrid manager, he said they would not peak until 2012, and was proven correct as they set unprecedented records including a century of points in La Liga. Since his return to SW6, Mourinho has repeatedly highlighted the fact his side is not yet at their peak in an attempt to manage fans expectations.

Mourinho would love nothing more than to fill the gap he left at Chelsea by winning the Champions League with the club, and in the process, getting one over his former employers Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Pep's Bayern Munich. 

The Champions League final being at the home of another former employer – Benfica - in his native Portugal next May means that there is no bigger incentive for success ahead of this season's European campaign.


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