After seeing off potential Champions League banana skin Galatasaray by two goals to nil in the second leg of their last-16 clash, Chelsea – thanks largely to their increasingly-impenetrable defence – look wildly overpriced at 12/1 to regain the trophy they last won less than two years ago.
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No side left in the Champions League has conceded fewer goals than Chelsea’s four this season.
Considering 75 per cent of the strikes the Blues have shipped in Europe’s elite club competition this term were conceded during a pair of inexplicable losses against now eliminated Basel, the west Londoners will feel somewhat aggrieved that they’re not powering away from the field in the goals-against stakes.
Atletico Madrid have also let in just four Champions League goals so far, but Chelsea can rightly lay claim to the title of best defence because…
The Blues have accrued the most clean sheets of any team in the competition this term, with five.
Impressive home and away shut-outs against Schalke and Steaua Bucharest saw Jose Mourinho’s men trouble the scoreboard 11 times without reply over 360 combined minutes, while bringing in the 12 points that ensured they topped Group E ahead of the Gelsenkirchen outfit.
First-choice centre-half partnership John Terry and Gary Cahill have been in situ at the heart of defence for three of those clean-sheets, but Chelsea are yet to concede a goal in this year’s Champions League when the skipper’s been paired up with reserve stopper David Luiz, which indicates the depth in their defensive ranks.
Mourinho has never led a team out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
With ‘The Special One’ at the helm, Chelsea will fancy their chances of winning a third European trophy in successive campaigns at extremely generous 12/1 odds, especially seeing as history suggests they already have one foot in the semis.
The two-time Champions League winning manager led Real Madrid to the last four in each of his three terms at the Bernabeu and won the tournament the previous season at Inter Milan.
He’ll be desperate to repeat the feat with his beloved Blues, having failed at the semi-final stage against Liverpool twice during his first three-season spell at the club.