Football

Who could Chelsea face in the 2022/23 Champions League knockout stages?


Chelsea made it through to the last 16 in the 2022/23 Champions League without too much fuss in the end as they topped Group E.

The Premier League side had to face AC Milan, Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb to get into the next round and they managed to go into the final match with top spot already secured.

Having won the tournament as recently as 2021, the Blues will be desperate to go far once again and perhaps add another title.

The tournament started off in a very worrying manner for Chelsea. Their first game was in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb and they actually lost 1-0. Mislav Orsic got what proved to be the winner in the 13th minute and what was then Thomas Tuchel’s side couldn’t mount a comeback.

The situation got even more serious the following week when Chelsea drew 1-1 with Salzburg at Stamford Bridge. That meant that Milan were three points ahead going into the double-header, with a chance to take full control of the group.

Improvements from Chelsea, poor Milan displays and questionable refereeing meant that Chelsea won both games against the Italian giants 3-0 and 2-0 and were now on top of the group.

Fikayo Tomori, Daniel Siebert

Fikayo Tomori was controversially sent off for AC Milan against Chelsea / Emilio Andreoli/GettyImages

The subsequent 2-1 win in Austria against Salzburg then secured top spot in the group for Graham Potter’s side and it meant there was nothing riding on the final match against Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge, which ended 2-1 to the Blues.

Chelsea were not banging in the goals during the group stage, which is why Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were joint top scorers, with just two goals each.. The team netted 10 across the six games and conceded four times.

Despite it not being the most impressive group stage that Chelsea have ever had, they did finish top of the group which was the target. For that reason, there are six teams they could face, with Liverpool (country protection) and Milan (same group) off limits for now.

Much like many other seeded teams in the last 16 draw, PSG are the team to avoid. The French champions very narrowly missed out on top spot in their group and that is why they could be set to draw one of the big teams.

It would certainly get rid of a big hitter early on if Chelsea were to come up against PSG in the next round and it would make for a great test of Potter’s management as he has no experience in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Graham Potter

Graham Potter has taken to the Champions League well / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Coming up against either Inter or Borussia Dortmund would be another serious test for Chelsea and Potter as both teams undoubtedly have some high-quality players in their ranks. It could also see Romelu Lukaku face his parent club if they were to get drawn with the former.

Club Brugge will likely be seen as the ideal draw but there are no easy games at this stage of the tournament and every opponent will need to be taken seriously.



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