Date: Wednesday 7th April 2021
Venue: Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
After being torn a new one at the weekend, tonight it’s a trip to Seville for the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final with FC Porto.
Porto beat Juventus to make the last eight and come into the game off the back of three consecutive wins in the Primeira Liga, including a win against Santa Clara at the weekend. Chelsea progressed with a comfortable win against Atletico Madrid, then beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup before being royally thumped by West Brom on Saturday.
Porto, who won the competition under Jose Mourinho in 2003/04, have reached the quarter-finals for just the fourth time in the past 16 seasons. Obviously, we won the Champions League in 2012, but the 2013-14 season was the last time we progressed past the quarter-final stage.
Porto have only failed to score once in their last 12 games across all competitions, but whilst we’re leaner on goals in the league, we’ve scored 11 goals and conceded just one in four away victories in the Champions League this season. We’ve also got a decent record against Porto, with five wins out of eight Champions League meetings with them since 2004.
That’s a record we need to continue and let’s face it, there really can’t be any excuses tonight given we had a rest at the weekend.
Going into today’s game, Porto boss Sergio Conceicao, says “Chelsea until this last game had been extremely competent, they have not lost a game in the Champions League, they have the second-best defence in the Champions League and also in the English League. They are a competent team, and when these defeats happen it serves as a warning. If you want my opinion, I would prefer that they won the last game. Because these situations make the siren sound and make everyone more alert, more awake to danger, and I honestly don’t like these defeats very much.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “It’s the quarter-final of the Champions League, so you play four halves that you need to be fully focused for, self-aware of our strengths, what our attacking patterns are that we want find after the international break and our game on Saturday. The challenge is to be totally focused on our strengths and to narrow the focus to 45 minutes and then another 45 minutes. I’m super happy today because everybody was back in training. So we will have some major decisions to make and I am sure everybody will be ready for the game.
I have the feeling we can overcome Porto but it will be a tough match. They are a very experienced side in this competition, champions for many years in Portugal. This makes it a certain mentality. But we are strong enough and believe in ourselves that we can overcome this round.”
For Porto, Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi are both suspended, but Pepe is back and Malang Sarr is eligible for selection against us.
For Chelsea, Kante is fit but is likely to be on the bench, with the Jorginho and
Kovacic pairing likely to
frustrate excite us instead. Christian Pulisic
is also available, assuming the tunnel isn’t too taxing for his hamstring. Rudiger
hasn’t been grounded after his bust-up with Kepa and might have to battle it
out with Thiago Silva for a starting place. Tammy Abraham has also travelled
but is likely to be overlooked in favour of Giroud.
PORTO (Possible line-up): Marchesin; Manafa, Pepe, Mbemba, Sanusi; Corona, Grujic, Uribe, Otavio; Marega, Martinez
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Christensen; Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount; Giroud
- Porto have lost five of their eight UEFA Champions League games against Chelsea.
- Porto have only lost more against Real Madrid than Chelsea in the competition.
- This will be only the second knockout tie between Chelsea and Porto in the UEFA Champions League, with Chelsea progressing 3-2 on aggregate in the last 16 2006-07.
- Since winning the UEFA Champions League in 2003-04, Porto have only won one of their six games in the competition at the quarter-final stage.
Sportsmole: Porto 1-2 Chelsea