It’s all been lovely and friendly, hasn’t it?
Didier Drogba still loves Chelsea. Chelsea still love Didier Drogba. Jose Mourinho love’s him so much he’d be happy to have Didier back at the Bridge next season if he’s 36.
‘I’d you back in a second, even when you’re old, grey and not aware that anything you post to my Facebook wall can be seen by everybody, not just me,’
he pretty much said.
Underneath all the mutual ego-boosting, there’s a game of football expected and after Aston Villa provide a surprise road-block to the machine it looked like Mourinho was building, presuming it’s going to be a straightforward win is more dangerous than introducing your wife or girlfriend to John Terry.
Galatasaray aren’t Europe’s finest team, but the stats say you don’t have to be Europe’s best to frustrate the Pensioners at home.
Chelsea’s away goal means they start the night with the balance firmly in their favour, but if the visitors were to get on the scoresheet, all of a sudden, things could get more uncomfortable for Jose than Roman asking ‘you spent how much on Shaun Wright-Phillips?’
We’ve had a look back over Chelsea’s record at Stamford Bridge in Champions League knock-out games and found that it’s not always a cake-walk. It’s largely a history of just doing enough. Once or twice they’ve given their visitors a sound hiding, but at others, they’ve stumbled their way into the next phase of milking UEFA’s cash cow.
- They’ve won 52% of all their Champions League knock-out games at Stamford Bridge
Just over half the time, they’re victorious all the time. On the face of it, it’s a decent figure, but considering it means they don’t win 48% of the time (35% draws & 13% defeats), it’s not one that should prompt complacency. Chelsea have regularly beaten Europe’s top teams in SW6, but they’ve also been stifled along the way – by rivals as varied as Barca, Inter, Manchester United, Liverpool, Stuttgart, Copenhagen and Valencia.
- Under Mourinho, they’ve won 57% of their Champions League knock-out games at Stamford Bridge
The stats are marginally better under the Special One, but be warned, it’s based on just seven games.
- They’ve managed a clean sheet in 35% of their Champions League knock-out games at the Bridge
This is a mildly surprising stat. It’s surprising because Chelsea’s success has largely been based on solid defences, but less surprising because they have often conceded goals against Europe’s top teams, yet still gone on to win the game.
- 75% of the home draws they managed were part of an aggregate score that saw them qualify for the next round
- 50% of their wins have been by a one goal margin
They tend to do enough. You may not be blown away by tonight’s showing, but the chances are, they’ll do what it takes to book their place in the last eight.
So fasten your seat belts for what’s likely to be … well … probably a fairly straightforward night at the Bridge to be honest. If ever you wanted to see Jose’s ‘just do enough to go through’ philosophy condensed into one match, then this is like Christmas to you. For the rest of us, it’ll probably be a fairly regulation Chelsea evening.