On the surface, Wednesday night’s game against Porto may not have looked that important to Chelsea. They had already qualified from Group D with a game to spare, and with a visit to the Emirates on Sunday could be forgiven for taking things a little easy. They did not and I am one Chelsea fan that is happy with this. Group qualification is necessary, yet winning the group is also vital. I will always remember 2006, when Chelsea qualified second in their group and suffered by drawing Barcelona, resulting in an early exit for the London club. Chelsea produced a professional display this week in Porto and reaped the rewards with a group victory. Yet captain John Terry believes the best is yet to come.
Chelsea have been very impressive in Europe so far this season. They have played with a workman-like professionalism reminiscent of the José Mourihno era and have been grinding out results. Take the away fixture against Apoel Nicosia for example. Chelsea grinded out a 1-0 victory in Cyprus thanks to a Nicholas Anelka goal yet the performance still sparked negative comments from manager Carlo Ancelotti, who claimed his side were not good enough. The solid displays have led to the Blues’ conceding in just one of their five games so far, with those having been to two great goals from rumoured Chelsea target Sergio Aguero.
Terry knows that Chelsea have not been at their best in Europe and has stated their best is yet to come. The skipper claimed “We haven’t hit top gear in Europe yet. There is still more to come from us. The momentum, the way we’re playing and the confidence can only take us in one direction and that’s forward. We can work better and will find solutions from where we’ve gone wrong.” Terry’s comments may come as worrying news to other contenders for the Champions League crown as the west London club are one of the few big names in the competition who have sailed into the knockout stages, with teams like Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid still not having confirmed qualification.
If Chelsea can up their game to perform as we all know they are capable of then they would have hit the nail on the head. Progression from the group stages is vital, performances are not, if they can step up a gear as the skipper claims then they will have a decent shot of finally capturing the crown that has eluded Abramovich for the duration of his reign.
Terry’s comments will also come as worrying news for the Premier League and in particular Arsenal, who face Chelsea this Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti’s side find themselves five points clear in the title race and if Chelsea are really yet to hit top gear then it could spell bad news for their competition domestically as well as in Europe. For me, as a Chelsea supporter myself, the best thing about Chelsea’s current form is the resemblance to the Mourinho era. Chelsea are both getting results and playing well – a deadly combination. It is likely that John Terry is attempting to inject fear into Chelsea’s rivals yet you have to believe that they will be dreading seeing Chelsea’s top gear. The Blues’ currently find themselves in the exact position they would like to be in at this stage of the season and things are looking good in their quest for silverware.