'Dangerous': Owen Hargreaves makes prediction about Chelsea in the Champions League this season

Owen Hargreaves has cast doubts over Chelsea’s ability to retain their Champions League crown.

Speaking on BT Sport ahead of Manchester City’s European tie with Sporting Lisbon, the former midfielder queried the Blues’ capability of winning the competition in consecutive campaigns.

Chelsea versus Lille

Chelsea’s defence of the title they won last May begins next Tuesday at home to Lille.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Despite their status as the reigning French champions, Lille have struggled to re-establish themselves as the top dog in the country.

They currently occupy 10th in the table, having only won nine of their opening 24 matches.

This domestic output has made Chelsea clear favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s men have not been without their own faults this year.

After hurtling out of the blocks, the Blues haven’t managed to keep pace with those just above them.

By retrieving the Super Cup and entering December as the league leaders, many believed Tuchel’s group were on to something very special.

Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Numerous dropped points later and the picture has changed completely.

Can the Blues regain the European trophy?

Whilst Chelsea simply cannot be counted out of the Champions League – they’ve just won the Club World Cup after all – their chances of winning the tournament have dropped dramatically.

“I just don’t think they have the form that they had last season,” said Hargreaves on the likelihood of the Londoners succeeding in the continental event.  

“Last season I would’ve said Manchester City and Liverpool are in a different bracket but don’t bet against Thomas Tuchel and that Chelsea team.

“They will be a dangerous underdog to underestimate.”

It is rather strange to view Chelsea as the dark horse of the format, but considering the run others have put together, the sentiment isn’t altogether unusual.

Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Manchester City swept aside Sporting 5-0 yesterday evening, stretching their unbeaten run to 21 matches.

Liverpool meanwhile haven’t tasted defeat since the end of 2021 and recently cut the league gap between themselves and Pep Guardiola’s machine to just nine points.

Jurgen Klopp’s side take on Inter Milan at the San Siro tonight.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain narrowly edged past Real Madrid 1-0 on Tuesday, two teams desperate to clinch the Champions League.

Bayern Munich are also in action later today against RB Salzburg, whilst Juventus face Villarreal at the same time as Lille’s trip to Chelsea.

Everything is still up for grabs, although that will change once a ball has been kicked.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.