Chelsea and Porto are goalless in the first half, which works for the Blues as they lead 2-0 on aggregate with away goals.
Chelsea have so much control, not of the ball but of the game. Porto will have to make some changes to try and establish some sort of grip, they’ve just found chances incredibly hard to come by.
The west Londoners were quite toothless with their best chances occurring with Mason Mount and Kai Havertz’s deflected shots.
Porto, though, came close to an opener twice with Jesus Corona who missed wildly.
Corona picked up a careless pass by Edouard Mendy and his shot was blocked by Jorginho.
The forward then caught a lovely cross by Chancel Mbemba and turned around Ben Chilwell before sending the ball to the stands.
The Blues flood back when they sense danger and are in such a strong shape it is tough to see how Porto can break them down. The only way seems to be out wide but even then, there’s always an onrushing player to block the ball in. They’re doing the ugly stuff extremely well.
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been ruled out of the Champions League quarter-final second leg tie against FC Porto through injury.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are looking to finish off the job on Tuesday following a 2-0 first leg win last Wednesday.
In Chelsea’s final training session ahead of the game, which took place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Kovacic reportedly suffered an injury that will keep him out of tonight’s clash.
This development will see N’Golo Kante start on Tuesday night. Tuchel was expected to make a late decision on Kante over his involvement against Porto, but it appears he will now start for the Blues.
“First of all, I was unbelievably happy when he said he would travel with us to Seville last week,” said Tuchel to the media on Monday.
“The plan was for him to return against Palace, so he came back earlier than expected, and I was so happy he could feature against Porto in the first leg. He helped us in the final 10 or 15 minutes with his quality and defensive work.
“The downside to that is that he lost a little bit of sleep, rest and workload for training the next day, because of the travel we had to do and not getting back to London until the early hours of the morning.
“He couldn’t train the next day like he usually does, so we decided again to bring him on from the bench against Crystal Palace. This is the decision we made and we will manage him in the best way we can.”
He added: “It’s difficult to imagine playing a game like this without N’Golo, so I think it is important we do look at him tomorrow before making a decision. We absolutely have to be careful with him.
“I will take a look at him after training tonight and see how he is in the morning before deciding whether he should start or whether he can be used from the bench again.
“The question for tomorrow is whether we want N’Golo to start or do we absolutely want him to finish the game.”
Porto head coach Sergio Conceicao said “we will see” if midfielder Sergio Oliveira is fit to start for the Portuguese side against Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Oliveira missed out for the 2-0 Blues win in the first leg of the quarter final through suspension but came off the bench for the last 23 minutes of Porto’s 2-0 win over Tondela in Liga NOS at the weekend.
The 28-year-old has plundered 19 goals from midfield this season, five of them in seven Champions League outings, and has also helped himself to seven assists.
Having missed out for the first leg loss in Seville, Conceicao was asked if his star midfielder had enough fitness in the tank to get through 90 minutes for the second leg, also in Seville, on Tuesday.
“We will see tomorrow,” the Porto boss responded.
“As you know, the last match as I can say, he was not yet ready for the 90 minutes because of a small problem and it is always dangerous.
“This is an important part of the season, we are fighting. We have some very demanding matches ahead of us so we have to ponder a lot between players who are players who are fit and those who aren’t so we will see what is the best eleven to face Chelsea.
“Also, when you want to get players back to fast it can be harmful.
“We need to be cohesive and compact. We also need to score and not suffer, that has to be our match strategy.”
The Porto boss was also asked about the Blues 5-2 thumping at the hands of West Bromwich Albion over a week ago and if he learned anything from what was Tuchel’s first defeat since taking over at the club in late January.
“I watched the match but we didn’t talk about that,” he said.
“We are worried only about ourselves and what we have to do. We want to focus on one match, because Chelsea lost, of course we observed certain situations and there were some fragilities that were clear but it is not relevant as they had one less player.
“There are moments throughout the season that can be used as an example. Belief, of overcoming ourselves, that comes from the work we do here.
“We are confident, we know it is a difficult opponent and obstacle but we are here to respond. There are always 90 minutes in the Porto way. The feeling of representing this club, its DNA, is always brought onto the field.
“It is not the fact it is against Chelsea or the situation, there are always 90 minutes of the Porto way. Sometimes we face more difficult teams but the feeling of representing this historic club and it’s DNA is always brought onto the field.”
“We have to see what we can do and explore it, nothing else.”
Chelsea star Ben Chilwell is a ‘different player’ since the arrival of manager Thomas Tuchel.
And the England star believes that competition from Marcos Alonso is ‘healthy’ as the Blues enter the run-in.
Ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Porto, he said: “When the manager came in, it was a clean slate for everyone. You can look at it one of two ways.
“Either I didn’t play the first three or four games which could’ve got me down but I used it as an opportunity to work harder, to ask him questions in training where he thinks I can improve my game and get more match time.
“When I get the opportunity to play I want to prove I should be playing more regularly and I’m sure all other players including Marcos are doing the same thing.
“It’s very healthy, especially at this stage of the season with quarter finals, semi-final in the cup, the league, it’s important everyone in the squad is challenging each other for eleven shirts and working hard, as they want to stay in the team.”
Antonio Cassano reckons Antonio Conte should be SACKED as Inter Milan boss despite being top of Serie A.
Ex-Chelsea boss Conte has Inter on course for a first title since 2010 with an 11-point lead at the top of the table. But former Italian striker Cassano called Inter’s play style boring and ‘horrifying’.
He told Bobo TV: “Inter will win the Scudetto, because the only way to lose it now would be throwing it out the window, but I have to say this with a heavy heart: they play bad football.
“As for the talk about getting new players in, who would that be? Conte doesn’t want real champions.
“Ajax played with a three-man defence under Louis van Gaal too, but Conte plays 5-3-2, with everyone behind the ball, sitting there to defend the goal. Park the bus and you do not pass.
“This kind of football gives me the shivers, it’s horrifying. If I had a coach like this, I’d go to the President and beg him to fire the boss.”
Marouane Fellaini could make a shock return to the Premier League this summer with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho reportedly planning a reunion with the former Manchester United man.
The Spurs boss is under pressure following his side’s collapse in the last 16 of the Europa League and their faltering Premier League form since Christmas especially with the home defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
Fellaini had a good relationship with Mourinho during the manager’s two years at Old Trafford, with the midfielder a regular starter in his first season before his following campaign was disrupted by injuries.
The Belgian is currently playing his football in China and is contracted with Shandong Luneng until December. However, Voetbal 24 claim that his deal will be ended early, allowing him to join a new club in the summer.
The report states that Fellaini is high on Mourinho’s list of priorities for the next transfer window.
Fellaini is said to be keen on a return to the Premier League with the midfielder hoping to earn a recall for the Belgium national team.
The 33-year-old left United in January 2019 after playing just 31 minutes in Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s first nine games as caretaker boss.
He was signed by David Moyes in 2013 with the midfielder having been a key part of his Everton squad for the previous five years.
The chances of the midfielder joining the north London side will be dependent on Mourinho still being in charge at the end of the season.