Chelsea similarities to Inter mean they can still top Group E

The immediate fallout of Chelsea losing their first home Champions League group-stage game in a decade is that they have lengthened dramatically to qualify for the knockout rounds of this year’s competition by topping Group E.

After the draw for this stage, Chelsea were heavy favourites at 2/9 to win their group, but this has now drifted to 4/5 on the back of Basel’s 2-1 Stamford Bridge success, with Ladbrokes offering the industry top price on this eventuality.

Interestingly, seven of the eight group-stage winners in the Champions League last season kicked off their campaigns with victory, with the one exception being Chelsea’s group, where Juventus left Stamford Bridge with a draw in their first outing.

The last team to lose their opener before recovering to win their group was Inter Milan in 2011/12.

There are some similarities between Chelsea’s current situation with that of Inter then, with the first being that the Italians were also beaten at home, going down 1-0 to Trabzonspor.

Furthermore, this defeat occurred two seasons after Inter lifted the Champions League, which is a spooky resemblance to where Chelsea are at present.

In 2008/09, both Roma and Panathinaikos won their respective groups after losing at home in their first fixture of the competition and in the last five seasons, the last campaign was the only time that more than five group winners opened up with a victory, which is promising for Chelsea.

Alternatively, Basel are 5/2 to top Group E and have theoretically already triumphed in what was their toughest assignment on paper. If they win at home to Schalke next, they can be expected to shorten again.

Schalke beat Steaua Bucharest in their opener and are now 3/1 to top Group E.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.