Chelsea have a great chance to advance to the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 2013-14 if we can finish the job against FC Porto. Leading 2-0 from last week’s first leg, technically the “away” leg, all we have to do is not lose by two goals in this rematch.
But this game will be historic either way, as it’s the first time a competitive Chelsea “home” match is being staged somewhere other than Stamford Bridge. Throughout our long and proud history — contrary to this blog’s cheeky name, we do have plenty of it — we’ve only ever called the stadium at Stamford Bridge home. After all, the club were founded to play at this specific location in 1905, and even as the stadium and its stands changed and evolved over the decades, that proud association did not.
The “Pride of London” flag, normally seen surfing the crowd pre-match in the Matthew Harding Lower, has made the trip to Spain to decorate the “home” end of our one-off “home” stadium. Now we just need a performance befitting that dedication.
Date / Time: Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12.30am IST (next day)
Venue: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain — just as the first leg
Referee: Clément Turpin (on pitch); François Letexier (VAR) — Turpin’s second Chelsea match; the first was last season 3-0 home defeat to eventual champions Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Galavision (USA); Sony TEN 1 (India); SuperSport Máximo 1, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, Univision Now (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — CBS All Access is now called Paramount+, We also have a Fubo TV affiliate link, if you’re so inclined.
Chelsea team news: Young Billy Gilmour is the only official absentee from Chelsea’s 23-man traveling squad for this “home” match, though Andreas Christensen was forced to miss Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, while others like N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic have yet to engender too much confidence in terms of their constant and nagging injuries.
Mateo Kovačić may or may not be a doubt after yesterday’s training session as well.
The Blues have now won two in a row after the 5-2 debacle against West Brom, including the weekend’s showcase that saw us score more than two in a game for the first time under Thomas Tuchel. But this game will be all about getting the defensive aspect right, even if Tuchel promises no change in approach.
“We don’t approach games like this, to talk about the result we have and then change the approach to our game. It’s important to be fully focused on us, play the best game possible again because this increases our chances of a result.”
“For us if we start adapting we could easily lose our heads. Because what does it mean? That’s it’s enough to lose one-zero? It’s good to have a draw, or better to have one-zero for us. Why should we enter into this thinking? This is the challenge to not lose your head.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
FC Porto team news: Porto were without their two leading goalscorers, striker Mehdi Taremi and attacking midfielder Sergio Oliveira, in the first leg. They’ve both served their suspensions and will thus be available and most likely playing from the start as Porto look to come back from a two-goal deficit “away” but really at the same neutral ground as last week. Porto dispatched mid-table Tondela with relative ease over the weekend, 2-0.
“We are confident. We know that we face a difficult task, but we are here to give the answer that we have to give [...] We have to be a compact, cohesive team. We have to score goals, but also to avoid conceding. We were good in the first leg, but not very good; if we were, we would have won. We will try to improve on what was a good team performance.”
-Sérgio Conceição; source: UEFA
Previously: This will be our tenth meeting all time; we’ve only lost two fo the previous nine, both by a 2-1 scoreline. Last week, we walked away with a clinical 2-0 first leg win.