'Many challenges': Marcel Desailly predicts whether Chelsea can win the Champions League this season

Marcel Desailly has predicted whether or not his former club Chelsea can retain their Champions League crown.

Speaking on ESPN, Desailly backed the Blues to go all the way again in the competition they won last May.

Chelsea and Madrid match up

Thomas Tuchel’s men took a step closer to continental glory by beating Lille across two legs before the international break.

Photo by ANP via Getty Images

Their 4-1 aggregate victory set up a tasty quarter-final showdown with Real Madrid, who enthrallingly edged past Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16.

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Chelsea and Los Blancos meet for the second successive season, having encountered one another in the 2020/21 semi-final.

History reminds us that Tuchel’s team whitewashed Madrid at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture, after initially being held to a 1-1 draw in Spain.

Now under the stewardship of Carlo Ancelotti, the 13-time European champions are a different animal.

Not necessarily a stronger beast, but certainly one with new strengths and weaknesses.

Can Chelsea make it two in a row?

Meanwhile, the Blues haven’t actually changed that much since the last contest between the two footballing giants.

Why fix what isn’t broke, after all?

If it helped them win the competition, who has the right to tell Tuchel he needs to alter his ways?

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Replicate their Champions League form from the previous campaign, and the title will be Chelsea’s once again.

“Yes, they have the squad, talented squad, with a coach who changes the squad quite often as he wants, as his own philosophy,” responded Desailly once asked about the Blues’ chances of reclaiming the trophy.

“They don’t look like they are favourites, but they are very strong.

“They will face again many challenges but they can make it, I’m sure.”

The tag of favourites probably goes to either Manchester City, Liverpool or Bayern Munich.

Both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have enjoyed great success in the Premier League recently, whilst Julian Nagelsmann’s side continue to trundle towards Bundesliga glory.

But Chelsea are more than happy to crash the party, especially if it means ripping up the invitations of their English rivals.

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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.