Only a few weeks ago, Chelsea were thought of, by some, as being favorites for the Premier League crown. They were also considered as having a good chance in the Champions League with their manager Jose Mourinho having such a fantastic record in the competition. Fast forward a few weeks, though, and it can all quickly change. This is what happens at this point in the season — perceptions matter less and less, while reality matters more and more.
Chelsea have dropped points in Premier league games in recent weeks to teams you would not have expected in Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. It has dented their title charge and no longer are they favorites. Now they sit as third favorites in most people’s estimation behind Manchester City and Liverpool. It’s not impossible by any means, but it’s much less likely than it was a few weeks ago.
Which is why their Champions League tie with Paris Saint Germain has become so important now. It is a tough but winnable draw for Chelsea, and getting through this stage would lead them into the final four. Anything is possible at that point, no matter who you are, and Chelsea are still a very good team. On their day, they can beat any team in the world, so absolutely anything is possible at that point.
When teams bring Mourinho in, apart from the baggage he brings along with him, he does provide a better than good chance of picking up trophies. It’s almost expected from him a this point. You may not like the football he orchestrates; you may not appreciate the things he has to say; you may not even be fond of his demeanor on the touchline, but he does bring trophies — usually, anyway. To maintain that this season, the Champions League may now have to be the top priority.
Playing PSG will be no easy ride either. Chelsea will have to earn their way into the final four if they’re going to make it. If they don’t make it, then their season could be coming to a sooner than expected end. Of course, the league would still be alive — barely. They would be left with very little margin for error on that front, though, and ending the season without a trophy would be looking increasingly likely.
Mourinho said his team was not good enough to win trophies this season and that next season they would be more prepared for that. A bad result against PSG on Wednesday and it would begin to look as though he might have been right. Not exactly unusual for Mourinho, of course. It’s the lack of trophies he’s not used to.