After the disaster of Saturday, Chelsea have to quickly regroup and recover and return to action in what is perhaps the biggest game of the season thus far. We hadn’t made it this far in Europe since 2013-14 and we certainly have a beatable matchup against the Portuguese champions, with the winners of Real Madrid vs. Liverpool awaiting the winners of this one in the semifinal — also winnable.
But we have to get there first, and obviously if we play like we did on Saturday, it’s not going to be pretty. Everyone knows that, including the players, so hopefully we can avoid further shambles.
Tuchel will likely rotate a fair few players, having rested some of the team’s key players who were also heavily involved with their national teams over the preceding break. Mason Mount and Andreas Christensen did play significant minutes against West Brom eventually, but Kai Havertz and Antonio Rüdiger did not — though Rüdiger’s headline-making training ground scuffle could have matchday consequences.
That’s all speculative. What isn’t is that both N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic are out with hamstring injuries once again, and that’s unfortunate, especially as the former was such a key performer against Atlético Madrid in the previous round.