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Chelsea: The kings of the knockout stages

Mike Hewitt

Chelsea are through to the semifinals of the Champions League for the second time in three years, and still in contention to lift a European trophy for a third straight season. We can't rightly claim to be kings of Europe just yet -- we did get booted out of the Champions League group stages by Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus last year, after all, but what we can claim is an absolutely insane record in knockout games of late.

When was the last time the Blues lost a knockout tie? That would be the 2011 quarterfinals, which saw us go out to Manchester United 3-1 on aggregate. By the time the semifinals roll around, the defeat at Old Trafford will be more than three years old. Since then, here's a list of teams we've overcome in knockout games:

  1. Napoli
  2. Benfica
  3. Barcelona
  4. Bayern Munich
  5. Sparta Prague
  6. Steaua Bucharest
  7. Rubin Kazan
  8. FC Basel
  9. Benfica
  10. Galatasaray
  11. Paris Saint-Germain

I mean, sure, the quality of opposition in the Europa League isn't that impressive, but the fact remains that we're on an absolutely remarkable run of late. And considering just how many times we could have gone out only to come back strong... well, it seems like we're in the last four of this competition with every chance of winning it.

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