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Michael Essien backs Chelsea to defend Champions League crown

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has backed the Premier League club to defend their Champions League crown this season.

The Blues won the prestigious competition for the second time last season and according to Essien the addition of striker Romelu Lukaku to the winning squad makes Chelsea serious contenders.

“They have a big squad. Having [Romelu] Lukaku back again, they are well prepared, and hopefully, we can win it [again].” He said on Thursday at the Champions League group stage draw.

Essien, who made over 160 appearances for the Blues, and his former teammate at Chelsea Branislav Ivanović helped in conducting the draw.

The draw threw up a host of blockbuster clashes with Chelsea facing Juventus, Manchester City getting PSG, Bayern Munich up against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid taking on Liverpool.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW IN FULL

Group A: Manchester City (ENG), PSG (FRA), RB Leipzig (GER), Club Brugge (BEL)

Group B: Atletico Madrid (ESP), Liverpool (ENG), FC Porto (POR), AC Milan (ITA)

Group C: Sporting CP (POR), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Ajax (NED), Besiktas (TUR)

Group D: Inter Milan (ITA), Real Madrid (ESP), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Sheriff (MDA)

Group E: Bayern Munich (GER), Barcelona (ESP), Benfica (POR), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)

Group F: Villarreal (ESP), Manchester United (ENG), Atalanta (ITA), Young Boys (SUI)

Group G: Lille (FRA), Sevilla (ESP), FC Salzburg (AUS), Wolfsburg (GER)

Group H: Chelsea (ENG), Juventus (ITA), Zenit (RUS), Malmo (SWE)

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