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Champions League: Porto Keen to Cause Chelsea More Problems


Champions League: Porto Keen to Cause Chelsea More Problems

Porto vs Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel suffered his first defeat as Chelsea boss in humiliating circumstances over the weekend. The Blues were battered 5-2 by second-from-bottom West Bromwich Albion, which is hardly ideal preparation for their Champions League quarter-final first leg with FC Porto.

The Champions League 2021 betting odds have the Portuguese giants as the underdogs in their ‘home leg’ in Seville.

But Porto will nevertheless be confident they can claim a positive result, especially after they sent Italian champions Juventus crashing out in the previous round.

Talking Points

Porto plotting another upset

Many considered Porto to be the weakest team left in the Champions League knockout round. But the Portuguese giants proved those people wrong as they kicked Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus out in the round of 16.

Sergio Conceicao’s side were brilliant in both legs, but they were especially impressive in the second leg away from home as their defence did enough to keep Juve at bay.

Centre-back and club captain Pepe was arguably Porto’s standout performer in that second leg as he made a host of crucial interventions. The 38-year-old picked up an injury that saw him miss out on international duty with Portugal, but he looks set to be fit to face Chelsea, which will be a huge boost for Porto.

However, Porto will be without striker Mehdi Taremi, who will be suspended after getting sent off in their second-leg win against Juve.

Toni Martinez scored a late winner in Porto’s win over Santa Clara over the weekend, but it remains to be seen whether Conceicao will start him or go with a five-man midfield and only Moussa Marega up front.

Regardless of who starts, Conceicao’s side will most likely continue to be well-organised and work extremely hard in defence like they did against Juventus.

Meanwhile, Sergio Oliveira will be a threat to score from midfield. The 28-year-old scored his 12th league goal over the weekend. Although, seven of those goals (and three of his team-leading five Champions League goals) have come from the penalty spot.

But he did produce one of the most memorable Champions League 2021 highlights thus far with his winning free-kick goal late in extra-time against Juve.

Chelsea must regroup after crushing defeat

Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten run as Chelsea manager came to a crashing halt as they were crushed 5-2 by relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion. Chelsea had conceded just two goals in Tuchel’s first 14 games in charge (10 wins, four draws) prior to that disastrous defeat.

Granted, Chelsea were one man down for two-thirds of the match after Thiago Silva was sent off, but it was nevertheless a poor performance all around by the Blues.

After Silva’s awful showing, it remains to be seen if Tuchel will start the Chelsea skipper against Porto or turn to either Andreas Christensen or Antonio Rudiger.

Mason Mount looks set to return in midfield after only coming on as a substitute against West Brom, but N’Golo Kante is a major doubt to feature due to an injury he picked up on international duty.

Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess how Tuchel will decide to line up in attack as he remains unsettled on a consistent combination.

The out-of-form Timo Werner continues to look for his first goal since mid-February, although he did unselfishly set up Mount for Chelsea’s second goal. He also supplied a fine assist to Hakim Ziyech in Chelsea’s 2-0 second-leg win over Atletico Madrid.

Reece James and Marcos Alonso both started at wing-back against West Brom as well as the Atletico second leg, but Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will also be in contention to start.

History

Porto and Chelsea have faced off a total of eight times in Champions League history. The Blues have a 5-2 edge in terms of wins, with only one draw.

The two sides last met in the 2015 group stage, with the home side winning either match. Both of Porto’s wins against Chelsea have come as the home side.

Although, those two losses are Chelsea’s only defeats to Portuguese opposition. They have 10 wins and just two defeats in 13 matches overall.

Betting Tip

1X2 Chelsea @ 1.89

The SBOTOP odds fancy Chelsea at 1.89 to pick up the first-leg win in Seville. Porto are priced as 4.10 underdogs, with a draw at 3.40.

There will be a strong urge to overreact to Chelsea’s disastrous loss to West Brom, as well as Porto’s win over Juventus. But don’t let that result lose sight of the fact that Chelsea have been outstanding since Tuchel arrived, particularly when they took apart Atletico Madrid over two legs in the previous round.

Porto are a formidable foe and will be tough to break down, but the West Brom defeat should produce some sort of reaction from Chelsea, who should have enough quality to bring a slight advantage back to the second leg.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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