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Are Chelsea’s Champions League ambitions really hanging by a thread?

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Jose Mourinho has refused to blame any of his players after Chelsea slipped to a 2-1 home defeat against Basel in their opening Champions League group game this week.

Chelsea went ahead just before half-time courtesy of a clinical finish from Brazilian youngster Oscar, but were guilty of complacency and lethargy in the second half, allowing the away side to grab two shock goals and three valuable points.

After the final whistle, Mourinho fought hard to portray an image of an unconcerned man, but in reality a loss on Matchday One will have done little to stave off Chelsea’s critics, who are currently taking aim at the Blues enduring their worst start to a league season under owner Roman Abramovich. 

That pessimism aside, where does this week’s result in Europe leave the Blues’ ambitions of lifting the trophy with big ears come next May? 

Well, Chelsea are still 15.00 on bet365.com to win the competition, with Bayern Munich, under the refined stewardship of Pep Guardiola, a short priced favourite at odds of 4.50.

With only Bayern, the two Manchester clubs, free-spending PSG, and the two La Liga giants of Real and Barca sitting in front of Chelsea in the outright winner market, it seems clear that an opening day shock defeat hasn’t really hit the confidence of football punters too hard.

Indeed, look a little closer and you’ll be able to see that Chelsea are 1.70 favourites to finish top of Group E, with Schalke just behind them at 3.25. They are also 1.15 to qualify from their group, with Schalke 1.30.

Football is a sport where pundits and critics enjoy jumping to quick conclusions following a poor run of form lasting just two or three games. Punters, though, typically take a more considered view of proceedings, and so it would seem in Chelsea’s case, with the Blues clearly being heavily backed to progress beyond Christmas in this year’s renewal of Europe’s top competition

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