Chelsea and Porto both make their way to Seville for the Champions League quarterfinal tie between two tournament underdogs. The contrasting style of these two sides will undoubtedly make for an interesting tactical struggle. That being said, Thomas Tuchel versus Sergio Conceicao means we’re on course for an “unstoppable force versus immovable object” type of tie. The Blues are the early favorites, but given the form of the Portuguese side, there is no telling what will happen over 180 minutes.
Here is how The Pride of London staff sees the first leg playing out:
Michael DeVito: 0-1 Chelsea
Back to the basics; back line of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta; ack to clean sheets by Edouard Mendy. Goals still hard to find though—Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud should start at striker.
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Tan Yi Hao: 0-2 Chelsea
This Chelsea team has been on long winning streaks before and the collapse that usually accompanies the end of said streaks is becoming an increasingly clear trend, regardless of the manager in charge. As the Blues’ season reaches its crucial end, Tuchel simply has to make sure that a similar collapse is avoided at all cost or risk all his good work thus far come undone. When better to send out a strong message addressing the mental fragility of this side than with a straightforward 2-0 away victory in the Champions League?
Scott Brant: 0-1 Chelsea
The match may be a bit of a bore, or at least I hope so. The Blues’ last match was anything but boring, and we all know how that went. Blues do what’s necessary to put themselves in a position to move on. Hopefully Abraham to score so Tuchel can maybe begin to trust him or something.
Anthony Gatt: 1-1 Draw
The first leg is the Blues’ “away” game and I believe it will be cagey affair that could be decided by fine margins. Given the horrid performance against West Brom at the weekend, I don’t see Chelsea gaining all its confidence back for this game. But with that being said, I see the Blues leaving Seville with the advantage heading into the second leg—1-1.
Nate Hofmann: 1-2 Chelsea
I refuse to overreact to the West Brom result. Unless the Blues have a man sent off in the first half hour again, I don’t think there are any relevant lessons to take into this match. Porto is good, but not great, and you’d probably say the same for Chelsea right now. With a mostly clean bill of health, a deep squad and a fairly comfortable match coming up on the weekend (in theory), there’s no reason for the Blues to come out with anything less than all guns blazing. I’m willing to give Porto enough credit to say it’ll manage a goal, but this match should be firmly under Chelsea’s control.
Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 0-2 Chelsea
The Blues have been magnificent in the Champions League so far, especially in the Round of 16 where they had struggled previously. They will be well aware of the threat Porto possesses and they’ll make sure that they don’t give the Portuguese side an opening. Tuchel has finally suffered his first loss, and now that it’s out of the way, it’s time to see how the players react or if it was all just good vibes all along.
Mike Malley: 0-0 Draw
After Saturday’s performance against West Brom, I do not feel confident predicting a positive result. The Blues’ defense was absolutely shambolic against the Baggies, although that might have been partly due to Thiago Silva’s 29’ red card, so many changes to the starting XI should be expected. Chelsea’s forwards will have a tough time, as well, seeing as Porto conceded only six goals in the entire group stage. This match is screaming for a 0-0 draw.
Gabe Henderson: 0-1 Chelsea
Much like the Round of 16 first leg, the Blues control the match and get a goal from the most unlikely place to head into the second leg with a slight advantage.
Olly Smith: 1-2 Chelsea
Tuchel will have to work all of his magic to make sure his charges have a short memory. The German got it wrong against Barc ..err… West Brom, but he’ll sort it out against Porto. Of all the players who deserves a shot when the team needs some identity, it’s the top scorer, Abraham. Even though the chance is a remote one and his injury seems to be lingering, the Blues will bounce back with the score line being far closer than the game.
Barrett Rouen: 1-2 Chelsea
West Brom exposed my secret theory: we are still sh*t. That said, I think we are at least professional and now newly (re)-humbled and that will do us a lot of good. The side will show exactly how much it is 85 percent of what Roman Abramovich paid for, and that should be enough to seal an incredibly non-inspiring victory in Europe.
That said, it had to happen. Every foreign manager who comes to England has to realize that there are no matches off. Even a team in 18th, if you disrespect it with an out of rhythm and absurdly rotated side, can beat you. Thomas the Tank learned it and ultimately Chelsea will be better off in other competitions for it, despite the fact it could not afford to drop three whole points over the weekend.
Kevin Peacock: 0-0 Draw
This game will be all about keeping a clean sheet. Not expecting much other than keep-ball, but we’ll see. Maybe there will be reaction to Saturday’s defeat.
Abhishek Pancholi: 1-2 Chelsea
The big slam from Big Sam last week brought the Blues crashing back to Earth. After such a humiliating defeat, the appropriate response would be to dispatch the next opponents with ease, hitting a boatload of goals in the process. Unfortunately, Porto is no pushover, and is capable of giving Chelsea a bloody nose, just like it did to Juventus before the Blues. A dreary game will end 2-1 in favor of the London side with everything still to play for in the second leg.
What is your score prediction? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!