The Champions League has been tough for the Premier League teams this season, with Liverpool and Manchester City likely to miss out on qualification for the knock-out stages.
Arsenal have all but secured their qualification - barring an Arsenal-esque collapse - whilst Chelsea can secure their progress with a victory over Schalke this evening. It does little to provide a basis for the argument that the Premier League is the strongest domestic division in world football, and, when compared with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund - all who have four wins from four - it is hard to imagine an English team progressing to the final of the tournament, let alone winning it.
Despite poor starts to the campaign, it isn’t wise to write off any of the Premier League sides, especially Chelsea, who have the experience and ability to progress all the way in the competition. They won the trophy in 2012 - in miraculous circumstances - and their current squad is stronger than it was then, whilst they are also managed by a twice-crowned champion.
They may not be outright favourites for the trophy, but they are surely the most likely English team to claim the silverware, and this opinion is shared by a former rival of the club. Ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas - who is currently a free agent following the expiration of his QPR contract - named the Blues as ‘genuine contenders’ for the Champions League crown, due to being hard to beat.
Speaking to the BBC, Jenas said: “They have to be genuine contenders.
They’re a team that will go to those tough, tough places - the Barca’s, the Madrid’s, the Munich’s - and you can see them putting in a top performance, and not getting beaten there.”
Jenas’s opinion was backed up by Mark Lawrenson, who said: “[Chelsea are] defensively the best team in the competition, which takes you a long way in the Champions League.”