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Chelsea emerge as Champions League’s

Chelsea emerge as Champions League’s ‘team you want to avoid’ and legitimate contenders

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Thomas Tuchel extended his unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge to 13 games with a comfortable win in the second leg of the last 16 tie against the previously stubborn Atletico Madrid

It isn’t too long since Atletico Madrid represented the hardest challenge in European football, the team you wanted to avoid more than any other, which made it all the more striking that Chelsea won so easily.

It is why that description may now fit Thomas Tuchel’s side.

You wouldn’t currently say Chelsea FC are at Manchester City or Bayern Munich’s level yet, after all. They are some way off being “super favourites”, to use Arsene Wenger’s term about AC Milan back in 1988-89.

There isn’t enough evidence for that, after an admittedly brief spell in charge so far. But a performance of this quality, to make it 13 games unbeaten since taking the job, is an indication of great potential.

“I am certain no one will want to face us,” Tuchel said. It’s hard to disagree. In that, they may well be a Liverpool 2017-18, good enough to really do damage to sides that are currently superior.

They just look a particularly dangerous team right now, in a totally different way from how that would usually have been said about Atletico. There was much more to Tuchel’s team. It wasn’t that they were hard to break down – as illustrated by that defensive record.

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