After Wednesday's crucial win over Porto, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho probably wasn't exaggerating when he positioned the Blues as one of the most desirable top seeds available in Monday's draw. We are, after all, rather struggling in all other competitions.
"Every team finishing second wants to play us or Zenit St Petersburg."
"Every team doesn't want to play Barcelona, they don't want to play Real Madrid, they don't want to play Atletico, they don't want to play Bayern Munich."
That's not to say that Mourinho's giving up hope of Chelsea winning it all again. The first two time he's won it, he won it with teams that weren't favorites. Chelsea famously won it in 2012 under similar circumstances as well.
"A team which is struggling as we are is obviously not a candidate to win the Champions League because you have the best teams in Europe. But when we won it with Porto we were not candidates. When we won it with Inter we were not candidates. When we were candidates with Real Madrid we lost two semi-finals, and we lost two semi-finals with Chelsea as well."
"So let's see, you never know."
-Jose Mourinho; source: BBC
What we will know very soon is who our opponents will be in the Round of 16. Of the eight second seeds, we cannot be drawn against Arsenal or Dynamo Kiev, which leaves the following six candidates: Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Benfica, AS Roma, PSV, and KAA Gent.
We've faced PSG in each of the last two seasons, eliminating them in 2013 but getting eliminated by their 10 men at the Bridge last season. An opportunity to exact revenge for that silliness wouldn't be the easiest, but might be quite welcome. Last year's beaten finalists Juventus and fellow Serie A contenders Roma would also pose a tough task. We beat Benfica in the 2013 Europa League final, but they're never pushovers. Meanwhile, PSV successfully navigated a group containing Manchester United and Wolfsburg, while Gent made history in finishing above both Valencia and Olympique Lyonnais. The Belgian side would probably be our weakest opponents.
The draw will be on Monday, 11am GMT, with the first legs set to be played at the end of February. Who would you prefer to face?