After such a calamitous start to the league season, winning the Champions League itself may prove Chelsea’s best chance of playing in Europe in 2016-17.
Albeit vast improvements under Guus Hiddink, the yawning gap between the Blues and the top four appears too large of an obstacle to overcome. As a result, it seems logical that the Stamford Bridge side should focus on Europe’s premier competition.
Moreover, with a squad largely unchanged from their emphatic Premier League ascension last season, the Blues remain a prominent threat in Europe.
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Whilst the El Classico sides and Bayern Munich remain resounding favourites, Chelsea may prove a dark horse on the continental stage.
If Hiddink’s men can kindle the grit and attacking bite that typified their play in 2014-15, there is little reason why the Blues wouldn’t be able to kick on this season.
Cut off so spectacularly in the Premier League, Chelsea must begin preparing for next campaign domestically. Focusing on the league would prove delusional considering it would take a minor miracle to claw themselves back into the top four.
It appears that Chelsea may have to do it the hard way, grit their teeth and fight to lift the trophy in the San Siro come May.
Such an achievement would undoubtedly prove miraculous and would be one of the most spectacular resurrections in recent footballing history, but at the end of the day, it's possible.
Besides, when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, they had endured a similarly disastrous start to their season. In fact, the Blues wound up in seventh place yet still battled towards a European place by defeating Bayern Munich in the final.
The role of the underdog may even suit Hiddink’s men, after all, it worked for Roberto Di Matteo just four years ago.
The Premier League turmoil is in the past and the Blues must look to the future. Seeing as their league hopes lay in tatters, why not throw the kitchen sink at the Champions League?
PSG prove a harsh round of 16 draw but Chelsea have defeated the Parisians before so shouldn’t be disheartened. Besides, if the Blues are going to come out on top, they will need to overcome the continent’s finest at some juncture.
It appears an impossible aspiration, but Champions League victory for Chelsea should not be dismissed as mere fantasy.
Hiddink possesses a squad that ran riot domestically only a year ago and they impressed in the group stage, if handled intelligently, the club’s campaign could stretch towards May.
League struggles do not always transpire onto a European theatre and after all, if Chelsea want to retain a Champions league place, winning it may prove the only way to do so.
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