Whenever the Champions League arrives, you hope for the best, but also expect the worst. Well, Friday at noon, Chelsea got the most favorable draw by the looks of it. The Blues will face FC Porto in quarterfinals and either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semifinals if they were to advance. There is no easy game at this stage of the Champions League and Porto should not be taken lightly. The Portuguese side is former winners of this competition under Jose Mourinho, just beat the Italian champions Juventus in the previous round and have players that could cause Chelsea some real problems. Despite all of that, many Blues fans—rightfully—believe this is easiest draw, not only for the quarterfinals but for the path towards the final in Istanbul.
The fact that Chelsea will not have to face Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City or Bayern Munich until the final couldn’t have worked any more in the Blues’ favor. We all know those teams are the favorites to win the entire competition and to not face them increases the chances Thomas Tuchel’s team has to reach the final. There is still a job to be done though and a spot in the semifinal still needs to be earned.
Porto will await on April 6th and Tuchel’s men must devise the game plan to beat this resilient Portuguese side. The Dragoes sit second in the Liga Nos, 10 points off Sporting CP in first. Although their league form may not strike fear, they have fared pretty well in the Champions League this season. Porto finished second in its group behind Man City with four wins, one draw and loss. That draw was against Man City, which ended 0-0, so Porto has shown the ability to keep clean sheets when facing top sides. Finally, the Dragoes managed over two legs to frustrate Juventus, although narrowly, but advancing is all that matters.
Their manager Sergio Conceicao has done wonders with this team—both in the league and Europe—since he arrived in 2017. He’s managed two league titles (2017, 2019) which the further was Porto’s first title since 2012/13. He also guided them to the knockout stage of the Champions League three times, the quarters twice within his four years at the club. Conceicao knows the club from his time as a player and now as a manager, and the players look like they really will put it all on the line for him.
What threat does Porto pose to Chelsea?
Porto plays a similar formation to what Atletico Madrid plays, which is 4-4-2 that is heavily reliant on inviting pressure into the final third and then catching teams on the counter attack. Given the Blues’ defensive record as of late, the confidence should be there to hold Porto out, but scoring goals when up against the likes of Pepe and Chelsea loanee Malang Sarr will easier said than done. Porto’s back line is a healthy blend of experience and youth; similar to the Blues’ back line. The experience that Pepe has and his willingness to defend for 90-plus minutes is undoubtedly something Chelsea must look out for.
Sergio Oliveira, Moussa Marega and Jesus Corona are all players who offer a variety of traits that could pose some threat. There’s the set piece threat with Oliveira, the brute strength that Marega posses and pace and skill on the flank with Corona. These are just some of things the Blues will face come April 6th. With all of that in mind, FC Porto shouldn’t be taken lightly.
This draw, in the grand scheme of things, really provides Chelsea with a huge chance to reach its first final since 2012. The hopes and dreams of capturing the Blues’ second Champions League trophy come May 29th.
What are your thoughts on the Chelsea’s Champions League Draw? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!