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Thomas Tuchel finally experienced his first defeat in charge of Chelsea as lowly West Brom shocked them 5-2 at the weekend, and they’ll have to respect dangerous opponents Porto, who overcame Juventus in the last round to reach this stage.
Still, the Blues will be happy with a Champions League draw that sees them avoid any of Man City, Bayern or PSG until the final, as well as facing theoretically the weakest side left in the competition here.
There’s no reason for Tuchel’s side to panic and Thiago Silva’s 29th-minute red card certainly made life tough for them at the weekend, with the Baggies registering the first of their five goals 15 minutes later.
Prior to that, Chelsea had shown incredible defensive resilience as they’d won 10 of 14 unbeaten games under new management, registering 12 clean sheets in the process.
Top sides Atletico Madrid (twice), Liverpool, Man Utd and Tottenham were all denied a sniff in front of goal, so we’d expect the weekend result to be a one off.
Both Teams To Score (No)
Although Mason Mount’s stature continues to grow for both club and country, Chelsea have had problems finishing chances and summer signing Timo Werner looks bereft of confidence, even when away with the Germany squad during the recent international break.
Prior to the unexpected goal fest with West Brom, all but one of those 14 games under Tuchel had seen fewer than three goals, so we’d expect them to get back to basics here.
Although both legs are set to be played in Seville, this is technically Porto’s home game and they’ll be content with a goalless stalemate given the away goals rule.
That’s especially the case as they’ll be without their two top scorers this term, key men Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi, both of whom are suspended.
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Between them they scored three of the four goals Porto managed against Juventus, so this could be quite a conservative, low-scoring affair.
Tuchel only has a couple of injury concerns ahead of this tie. N’Golo Kante has been ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury with the French national team, though can be replaced with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic both available.
Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic will likely have to settle for a place on the bench after coming off at half time against West Brom.
Chelsea To Win And Under 2.5 Goals
Porto last went beyond this stage when winning the tournament under Jose Mourinho in 2003/04, while the last time they reached the quarterfinals, they were easily dismissed by Liverpool.
In eight encounters with English sides since 2016/17, at least one team failed to score on six occasions, and that appears the way to go here with ‘unders’ on the short side, though Chelsea should just shade this contest.