Paul Merson believes Graham Potter’s “dangerous” Chelsea side can beat Real Madrid over two legs in the Champions League quarter-finals.
It is hard to argue that Chelsea are the underdog in their Champions League bracket.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City all have performed more consistently than Potter’s men.
At the same time, however, Chelsea arguably have more gears to go compared to their competitors.
After three consecutive wins, their huge investment in the last two transfer windows has started to pay off.
Merson even thinks Chelsea have the quality to overcome Real Madrid challenge.
“I think Chelsea are a dangerous, dangerous football team,” the former England international told Sky Sports (via Football Daily).
“I mean the Champions League draw [wasn’t] kind, but I do expect them to beat Real Madrid over two legs.”
About whether he thinks Chelsea can still finish in the top four, Merson added: “No, I don’t see that.
“If they were chasing one team, you never know, but when there are so many teams in front… you win today, three other teams could win today [too] and nothing changes.’
“I don’t see them being in the Champions League places, but they are in a position where they will be able to rest people.
“Before the Real Madrid game, he [Potter] could rest 10 players that he believes are going to play against Real Madrid.”
As Merson said, the fact that Chelsea are unlikely to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League means they are likely to go all out in the Champions League.
This may not be the case for Real Madrid, who still sit second in La Liga, albeit the nine-point gap to first-placed Barcelona.
Potter, who now has over 30 players in his first-team squad, clearly has the personnel to make any drastic squad rotation.
The question is whether this Chelsea team can maintain their upward trajectory, especially with so many players close to being away for the international break.
Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.