After their quarter-final kitchen sink hurling exploits Chelsea, along with Bayern Munchen, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, will be huddled around a training ground flatscreen at around 11am tomorrow awaiting the identity of their Champions League semi-final foes.
The Blues find themselves as 21/4 outsiders to hoist the trophy for the second time in three campaigns, a price that is sure to get the punters chomping given both the immense quality their squad stocks and the leadership of competition aficionado Jose Mourinho.
Those who do get behind the west Londoners will have their fingers crossed that they don’t pull 27/20 tournament favourites FC Bayern out of the hat, but such an eventuality might not be so bad, as one of our trio of things to look out for in the last-four draw dictates.
Should FCB draw the Blues, they will have to become the first team in history to vanquish three English sides from one instalment of the competition.
Arsenal and Manchester United have already been booted to one side by the all-conquering Bavarians, but history hints that Chelsea may prove insurmountable.
An opportunity to play Munich’s finest at Stamford Bridge presents Mourinho’s men with the best chance of prevailing against such a superior foe, as was the case when the Portuguese masterminded his unfancied Inter side’s victory over the mighty Barcelona in the 2009/10 vintage.
A renewal of Mourinho-Guardiola hostilities
The Special One’s relationship with the player he admired most during his days coaching/translating at Barcelona soured when Pep beat him to landing the Nou Camp job in 2008 and they’ve pitted wits with one another 16 times since.
Mourinho refutes the notion that he struggles to get the better of Guardiola, but figures of seven wins, five draws and three losses for the Spaniard prior to FCB’s European Super Cup penalties triumph over the Blues earlier this season suggests he may want to sack his statistics provider.
Madrid derby warfare
Laced with ferocious animosity, an inter-Madrid battle for a place in the Champions League final is sure to be even more furious than normal.
The previous six La Liga tear ups between the two have produced 38 cautions and two sendings off, with Atleti doing the bulk of the kicking, picking up both reds and 23 bookings.
Punters are advised to aim high in the card markets if these two are paired with one another.