Chelsea made it exciting in the end tonight, soiling yet another clean sheet by generously allowing a goal to returning former backup striker Loïc Rémy, but we held on to the 2-1 win and thus guaranteed ourselves a spot in the Champions League knockout rounds.
Whether we finished first or second in the group wasn’t up to us however. That was determined by the result of the other game, where we would’ve needed a draw between Ajax and Valencia to finish top. Surprisingly, it were the visitors in Amsterdam who collected the win instead. Chelsea and Valencia thus both finish with 11 points, but Valencia claim first place due to their head-to-head tiebreaker (that first game and Ross Barkley’s penalty miss coming back to haunt us in the end). Meanwhile, Ajax drop into the Europa League despite 10 points (similar as Chelsea in 2012-13).
Since Chelsea finish runners-up, we go into the draw as second seeds and will thus be matched-up against a top seed. And that does not make for pretty reading, as out potential opponents will be: PSG (winners of Group A), Bayern (Group B), Juventus (Group C), Barcelona (Group F), or RB Leipzig (Group G). Liverpool and Manchester City also won their groups, so we cannot be drawn against them, while obviously we can’t be draw against Valencia either.
Given the way these things tend to work out, our money is Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus getting drawn out of the hat.
The draw for the Round of 16 will be held next Monday, December 16, with the games themselves set to played in late February (first leg) and mid-March (second leg). Chelsea will play at home first as the lower seed.