As far as preparations go, losing 5-2 to the second worst team in the league is not exactly the most ideal way to head into this most crucial Champions League tie, even if it was the first defeat under Thomas Tuchel.
A (first) defeat was of course always bound to happen eventually. The key now is responding to it properly and emphatically. We got about as favorable a draw as possible for these quarterfinals and potentially the semifinals, but that doesn’t mean this will easy — far from it.
Date / Time: Wednesday, April 7, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12.30am IST (next day)
Venue: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain — both legs will be played in this stadium due to current COVID travel restrictions in place in Portugal and England. This is technically the away leg for us.
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (on pitch); Pawel Gil (VAR)
Forecast: Warm and sunny, turning warm and not sunny at night
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Galavision (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport Máximo 1 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, Univision Now (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — CBS All Access is now called Paramount+, which is the same not-great thing, with more mediocre content, and with football (and sports in general) even harder to find on it. Here’s SB Nation’s old CBS-AA affiliate link, which should still work. We also have a Fubo TV affiliate link, if you’re so inclined.
Porto team news: The team’s two leading goalscorers, midfielder Sérgio Oliveira and forward Mehdi Taremi, are both suspended for this first leg. They scored three of the team’s four goals in the previous round to help upset Juventus. That said, Porto lead the Primeira Liga in goalscoring, so they can find a source of production in this case well.
Porto dominated their domestic league throughout the early 2000s, but have won it just twice since 2013, including last year. They look unlikely to retain it however with an eight-point deficit to leaders Sporting Lisbon at the moment.
Porto beat Juventus in the Round of 16, conceding four goals across the two legs but advancing on away goals. The only other European game in which they’ve conceded this season was their very first group stage match against Manchester City, which they lost 3-1. Chelsea loanee Malang Sarr, who is eligible to face his parent team, has often played a crucial part in that excellent defensive record.
Porto head coach and former Portuguese international, Sérgio Conceição, is vary of Chelsea’s threat, but as the underdogs, has nothing to lose.
“We are aware that we are going to have a very difficult task, but we are ready. There may be one or two different variations in our system for the match. In life, nothing is impossible, especially in football. I wish Chelsea had won their last match. Sometimes these situations sound the alarm and make everyone more alert.”
-Sérgio Conceição; source: UEFA
Chelsea team news: The big news, other than the shocking defeat on Saturday, is that every player is supposedly healthy and fit enough to feature in the matchday squad, though N’Golo Kanté is unlikely to make it beyond the substitutes bench. This should give Tuchel plenty of choice for figuring out an optimal lineup that would help us return to the defensive solidity seen over the course of the past two months. Whether he can make the correct choices however is a different question.
Saturday’s defeat was Tuchel’s first ever and Chelsea’s first after 15 unbeaten in all competitions (14 under the new head coach). Time to start a new streak!
Previously: There’s plenty of shared history between the teams in terms of players, managers, transfers, but we’ve also faced each no fewer than other eight times already in Europe over the past couple decades, mostly in the group stages (Chelsea winning four out of the six). The only time we met in the knockout rounds was in 2006-07, when a late Ballack winner in the second leg sent Chelsea through to the quarterfinals. (Mourinho’s Chelsea beat Valencia there, but would end up losing to Liverpool on penalties in the semifinal.)