Credit goes to Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv who took the Champions League Group G to a thrilling showdown after defeating Porto out of nowhere in the last game week. That’s why the group is wide open now and Kyiv is pushing for next round qualification sitting at 3rd place. They will face minnows Maccabi Tel Aviv; a victory over them will be enough for their qualification. And it has certainly taken Chelsea vs Porto clash to a new and interesting level.
This has toughened the situation for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho who must not lose the encounter against Porto at Stamford Bridge in this final group league fixture. Both are with 10 points and Chelsea are currently table toppers due to superior goal difference.
Dynamo Kyiv is expected to defeat Maccabi Tel Aviv, which will take them to 11 points. A draw between Chelsea and Porto will do good for Chelsea but won’t be enough for the Portuguese side as in that scenario all of them will have 11 points and Porto will be eliminated with inferior goal difference. So it’s a must win match for Porto if they want to progress in the next round. Anything but a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv will see Dynamo Kyiv an exit from the Champions League which is highly unlikely.
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||5||0||0||5||0||1||15||-14|
Chelsea are under immense pressure having lost to newly promoted and already relegation threatened Bournemouth in Premier league last Saturday. Key players like Diego Costa, Cese Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Oscar etc are badly out of form. With 15 points from 15 matches, the defending champions are currently at 14th place in the league and already knocked out from the domestic Capital One Cup competition. In this situation a defeat against Porto will knock them out of the Champions League too.
Porto, on the other hand, were unbeaten in all competitions this season until they faced a shocking defeat against Dynamo Kyiv which came at a very wrong time for them. Now they have to come back stronger and beat Chelsea to progress further. Porto will push for it from the very beginning and will try to score as early as possible.
Chelsea were forming a mini comeback before the Bournemouth mishap having kept 3 back to back clean sheets ( against Norwich City, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Tottenham Hotspur) for the first time this season. So a Clean sheet over Porto will be enough for now.
Chelsea vs Porto Last Meeting:
These two met in the reverse fixture on 29th September where Julen Lopetegui’s men made Jose’s return to Estádio do Dragão a miserable one. Andre Andre scored first for Porto around 39th minute which was cancelled out by Willian from his trademark free kick on the stroke of half time. Later a goal from Maicon Pereira in the second half earned the Portugese side a well deserved 3 points.
Chelsea will be morally boosted as their captain John Terry is back after missing last two matches. The veteran defender has declared himself fit and available for selection. Ramires is back in training too and fit to play. Radamel Falcao is still a couple of weeks away after suffering a setback and will miss the game against his former club. Thibaut Courtois is already back between the sticks for Chelsea. Porto manager has not mentioned about any major injuries; they will field the strongest possible side to upset the Blues.
Chelsea vs Porto Line-up:
Mourinho has played Hazard as a center forward in last two matches against Spurs and Bournemouth and benched the controversial striker Diego Costa. Though it neither worked for Jose nor for Hazard. He had to bring Costa against Bournemouth in the second half and shift Hazard in his usual wing forward position. So it is expected that he will start Costa upfront this time.
Subs: Asmir Begovic, Gary Cahill, Baba Rahman, Ramires, Loic Remy, Pedro, Kenedy.
Porto line-up will possibly look like the following.
Subs: Helton, Miguel Layun, Giannelli Imbula, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, Jesus Corona, Alberto Bueno, Evandro.
- Chelsea have faced Porto three times at home in Champions League. They won in every occasion.
- Porto have never kept a clean sheet against Chelsea in previous 7 meetings.
- Chelsea have lost only once in their last 37 Champions league home matches, having won 28 times and drew 8 times. Only defeat came against Basel in 2013.
- Porto have visited England for 16 times in European Competitions, they never managed a win there ( L14, D2)
- Porto failed to score in last 4 of their 5 visits in England.
Chelsea to win: 1/1, Draw: 5/2, Porto to win: 16/5
Whom will you be supporting in this game of Chelsea vs Porto? Let us know in the comments below!
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Photo by Ben Sutherland