Alan Pardew believes that Chelsea can make great inroads in the Champions League this season after dismantling Qarabag 6-0 in their opening group game of the campaign. However, he is not too convinced with Manchester United, who he believes are still a level below Real Madrid following their loss to the European Champions in the Super Cup.
The Blues are on a brilliant run of form following their opening day loss to Burnley, winning all their games post that debacle. Goals from Pedro, debutant Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi - who netted a late double - gave the 2012 winners a victorious start on their return to continental competition. The fourth win in a row comes five days ahead of the visit of Arsenal at a defining moment of the season for both teams.
"Chelsea look as good as last year going into the Champions League in my opinion. Morata looks like he will only get better," Pardew told Sky Sports, as quoted by the Daily Express.
"One of the Premier League teams can win it for sure. I do look at Real Madrid and when they played Manchester United, and I've seen two of United's games this season. I thought they were level above - I still think we've got a level to go."
Conte was able to rest Alvaro Morata and David Luiz for the game, while Eden Hazard also got a run-out after making his debut this season against Leicester City on Saturday [9 September], where he played for 12 minutes. However, the manager has hinted that he is still unlikely to make the starting line-up against the Gunners,
Morata's omission from the start allows Batshuayi a chance to lead the attack, an opportunity he grabbed with both hands as he scored twice in the second half. Conte was impressed with many of his squad players and is set to ring in the changes for their game against the north London club on Sunday (17 September).