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Great escape gives Chelsea every chance of last four place

| 15.03.2012

After coming back from the brink, Chelsea’s stirring win over Napoli has seen their price plummet to 9/1 fourth favourites to win the title outright.

Holders Barcelona inevitably lead the field at 11/10 but retaining the title has proved a tall order in recent years.

Not since AC Milan in 1990 have any club been crowned champions of Europe in successive seasons.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are 12/5 and 6/1 respectively, and the latter in particular made a statement of their intent with a 7-0 win over Basle – their second seven-goal haul in a matter of days.

The trio of Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery will surely strike fear in the hearts of any of Europe’s elite clubs.

Chelsea’s prospects of progression will of course depend heavily on Friday’s quarter-final draw.

European heavyweights Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona each cruised through their respective last 16 ties, scoring 22 and conceding just five between them.

While the Blues will be desperate to avoid them, they can at least take heart from their record at this stage of the competition.

They have only lost one of their last six quarter-final ties – a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Manchester United last season.

Being paired with Barcelona however, would surely spell the end for the west Londoners.

Chelsea have come out second best on both of the last two occasions they have met the Catalan giants in the knockout stages.

But with APOEL Nicosia, Marseille still in the pot, Chelsea have every chance of landing a very winnable tie. Benfica and Arsenal’s conquerors Milan complete the last eight line-up.

APOEL squeezed past Lyon on penalties, while Marseille saw off struggling Inter on away goals. The pair prop up the market at 100 and 33/1.

A kind draw could very likely see Chelsea in the last four, but Chelsea have lost four of their last five semi-finals in this competition.

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Author

Richard Anderson