Porto v Chelsea Champions League Preview

Porto v Chelsea Champions League Preview

Champions League football will resume in midweek when Portuguese giants welcome returning Mourinho in what could be a classic European group stage encounter on Wednesday night. Julen Lopetegui’s side, which has yet to lose in the league this season, twice let a lead slip as it failed to build on the vital 1-0 victory over arch rival Benfica in its previous fixture. Porto also missed the opportunity to win in its opening group match as a late winner from Vitaliy Buyalsky earned Dynamo Kiev a 2-2 draw after Vincent Aboubakar’s double had put Porto ahead. A win at home against one of tournament’s favorites would be crucial in terms of making a big step towards qualifying for the knockout stages.

porvsche

English Champions Chelsea suffered another blow to their title defence as the Blues could only manage to come away with a point at St.James Park, leaving them further adrift of the summit. Although, some solace in the form of Champions League awaits Jose Mourinho and Chelsea who had won their opening group game in a convincing fashion at home against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The manager described Chelsea’s first-half showing at St James’ Park as “minus one out of 10”, and if anything, the Portuguese will be out to prove a point in Tuesday’s trip to the fabled Estadio do Dragao.

Team News

Blues manager Jose Mourinho, who oversaw the Portuguese club’s Champions League victory in 2004, has no new injury worries for the Group G match. Striker Diego Costa, who is serving a three-match ban in the Premier League, will be available for selection.

Porto midfielder Yacine Brahimi hurt his right knee against Moreirense on Friday, but is in the squad. Midfielders Hector Herrera and Silvestre Varela have been left out.

Head-to-Head

Recent Meetings (courtesy goal.com)

Interesting Numbers

  • Chelsea have won four of their six Champions League meetings with Porto (D1 L1). They have never failed to score against the Portuguese side.
  • Porto and Chelsea’s three encounters at the Dragao have a perfectly balanced record: one win each, one draw and three goals each.
  • Porto have conceded more than one goal only twice in their last 34 home Champions League games. Moreover, no English club has ever scored more than one goal in 10 away Champions League games against Porto.

Key Men Comparison

Iker Casillas (Porto) v Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

San Iker, a demi-god among the Real Madrid faithful, endured a difficult time in his final years at Bernabeau under Jose Mourinho and the legendary goalkeeper did the unthinkable by joining another club in his career, one where he could continue playing first team football every week, at the highest level. The amount of experience he brings after years of playing in big games in the Champions League with Real Madrid, could play a pivotal role in Porto’s chances of progressing as far as they do, in this year’s edition.

Following a title-winning season when captain John Terry played every minute in the league, arguably his best on a personal level, Mourinho has made him sit on the bench for the last two league games in which, a young, potentially top defender in Zouma has come in, and impressed at the heart of the back four at Chelsea. His pace as a center back can help the side in the long run and is something that Mourinho wants in his defence as Garth Crooks of BBC said in an interview post Newcastle,

“Zouma is getting better with every game and Chelsea look like a team that no longer has to worry about pace in the opposition ranks. His sensational 50-yard pass to Eden Hazard was the trigger for Chelsea’s success and resulted in Ramires’s stunning goal. The point is, and unpalatable as it might seem for some, Zouma is the future and Terry is the past. Time, I’m afraid, catches up with all of us in the end.”

Strong in the air and in 1v1 situations, the Frenchman could be influential at the back for Chelsea under Mourinho for on Wednesday and beyond.

Prediction

An entertaining draw, for me.

Porto 2-2 Chelsea