In the seventh scouting report in our 8-part UEFA Champions League Scouting Report Series we take a look at one of the toughest remaining teams in the tournament. The team has so much depth all around the pitch, but aren't considered to be the best by some because they don't play "sexy" football, meaning they win ugly by American standards, most often scoring off headers and winning boorish 1-0 contests. This team poses a major threat to take the Champions League trophy for the first time since 1998, and with such a deep and athletic lineup, Chelsea defidently have a shot.
Chelsea have one of the most impressive lineups in the whole world. Their starting XI is filled with international superstars that all can pose an impressive and dangerous threat against any opposition, whether that be Bolton or Barcelona.
In the attacking role, Chelsea have five standout players who could easily headline any team they went to. Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka lead the attack, combining for 21 goals this season, with Claudio Pizarro, Salomon Kalou and Andriy Shevchenko coming off the bench in support. All five of these players are unbelievable, combining for 33 goals in all competitions this season.
The midfield contains some amazing players, as well, including Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Joe Cole (who often plays striker as well), Michael Ballack, Claude Makaelele, John Obi Mikel and Shaun Wright-Phillips, another very impressive group of attackers. Together this attack has scored 56 goals in the Premiership, the third highest of any team.
The defense is just as impressive. With Ashey Cole (no relation to Joe), Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Juliano Belletti, Wayne Bridge and Paulo Ferreira protecting the net on the back line and world-class goalkeeper Petr Cech protecting the net.
With a lineup like this, it's hard for any team to defeat the Blues. In fact, Chelsea lead the Premier with a 15 game winning streak, the longest in the league by far. Chelsea haven't lost a EPL game since December 16th.
Chelsea have swept through the Champions League quite comfortably so far and are one of only three teams who have not lost a game in the tournament so far (Manchester United and Barcelona being the other two), giving up a tournament low two goals in the process.
Chelsea are led by manager Avram Grant, an Israeli soccer legend, who originally came to the club as former coach Jose Mourinho's assistant. However, when Mourinho left in September 2007 Grant took over and has so far done a good job of guiding Chelsea to victory.
However, the real creator of the team is Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's Russian owner who has poured millions of dollars into the club, helping to bring in bigger names and better players. Today Chelsea are one of the richest clubs in the world and are usually rumored with possible tranfers of the best players in the world including Ronaldinho and others.
Chelsea have a large and passionate fan base, especially in the US.
Chelsea are a very strong, dominating team with a very experienced and trophy-hungry team, but one problem that may be facing the club at the end of the season is the team chemistry. With the exit of Mourinho in September, many key players seem to be ready to fly to coop as well including Shevchenko, Lampard and Drogba. This is a major problem for Grant and Chelsea, as Mourinho and his players were closely knit and with his exit many of the players became unhappy, especially Drogba, and are looking for a summer transfer move. While this doesn't seem like it's going to hurt the club in the long run as Roman is already talking about signing new world class players to replace the leaving ones, it will defidently hurt the mentality and composure of the players before this season ends. It's a lot tougher to work together when you know your teammates are unhappy and want out A.S.A.P. than it is when everyone's happy.
And their away jerseys are some of the ugliest I've ever seen (ranking up there with Barcelona's orange mess)
Other than that, though, Chelsea aren't skipping a beat this season and are playing world-class ball.
John Terry, Chelsea's captain, forgetting his shoes
Chelsea are a fantastic squad, and I'm fairly sure they will defeat Fenerbahce in their quarterfinal draw. If they progress onto the semifinal they will meet the winner of the Arsenal-Liverpool matchup, producing an extremely hard fought battle between two Enlish clubs for a place in the final. It's at this point of the Champions League that Chelsea make their exit, though. Chelsea have an amazing squad, but in the last few years they have had a tough time in the final stages of the champions league, and with the bad chemistry the team is experiencing and the division in the locker room, I think the Blues drop in the semis. It's a real close call, but someone's got to lose.