Going into half time with the advantage!
I forgot to do a preview for this game so lets jump straight into the review. Chelsea travelled to Seville to play Porto in the Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg on Wednesday night. Why Seville? Due to quarantine restrictions etc Chelsea could not travel to Portugal and it would be unfair for one game to be played at a neutral venue and another at Stamford Bridge. The 2nd leg will also take place in Seville. Tuchel and Chelsea needed to respond after that horrible 2-5 loss and Tuchel picked a trusted XI. Mendy started in goal with Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger making up the back 3. Reece James, and Chilwell started as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Jorginho in midfield while Mount, and Werner started behind Havertz. Porto had top scorers Taremi and Oliveira suspended but still fielded a strong team with the likes of Pepe, Corona, Marega all in the starting XI.
Chelsea began the game as the better team and for 10 minutes we dominated possession but for around 20 minutes after that it was all Porto. Chelsea were pinned back and the players could barely string two passes together. Mendy and the defence had to remain strong and we weathered the storm. Chelsea did have one chance where Mount found Werner with a cross but the German’s header was off target. The 1st goal came in the 32nd minute as Jorginho played a quick pass into Mount who’s first touch and turn left Sanusi in no man’s land. With open space Mount entered the box and finished past Marchesin to make it 0-1. A goal very much against the run of play. The final 15 minutes of the half were evenly matched but Porto still had a few more chances.
The 2nd half was better from Chelsea and we actually managed to create 2 very good chances. One came early on when Rudiger took a shot from distance and the keeper fumbled the save which allowed Werner to square the ball to Havertz but Pepe applied enough pressure for the shot to go wide. Azpilicueta also had a good chance to make it 2 when his header went over the bar from point blank range. Werner and Havertz went off for Pulisic, and Giroud around the 60th minute. Chelsea looked comfortable but Mendy still had to make some solid saves. Kante, and Silva came on for Reece James and Mason Mount around the 80th minute. Kovacic played a good pass into Pulisic who’s shot from distance hit the post. The 2nd goal came in the 85th minute as Corona had a loose touch at the back which allowed Chilwell to take advantage. Chilwell ran down on goal and rounded the keeper to make it 0-2. Very Torresesque. Emerson came on late in the game for Kovacic as Chelsea saw out Porto for a big 1st leg win.
Chelsea Team Preview
That’s another clean sheet for Mendy and 7 in the Champions League now. That’s a new record for our goalkeeper. The clean sheet was well deserved as well as Mendy made some good saves. A solid response after conceding 5 and long may the clean sheets continue.
The defenders had to respond after their poor showing agains West Brom and respond they did. It was a game where the back 5 had to be solid and we were able to handle whatever Porto threw at us. Azpilicueta and Reece James dominated that right hand side while Rudiger handled Marega well. Chilwell got the 2nd goal and had a positive game as well. A top performance from the defence. Going forward though the 3 at the back need to work on their long passes. Silva and Emerson came on late in the game.
Jorginho and Kovacic had a better game as a pair than they did against West Brom. The two improved in the 2nd half but were overrun in the 1st as Chelsea couldn’t get a grip on the game. Mount did well to get the goal and it was a brilliant turn to create the space. Kante was brought on for the final 10 minutes to add a bit of energy to the midfield.
Not the best game for our forward players. First Havertz, and Werner were isolated and didn’t really get into the game and then Giroud, and Pulisic also suffered a similar fate. There were chances though and maybe on another day we convert them. Pulisic had a positive cameo though and it’s good to see that the American could be returning to his form from last season. No need to over analyse it.
Tuchel needed a response and he got that. Perhaps the fact that Chelsea were resilient and clinical as opposed to dominating will be encouraging for the German. The substitutions came at the right time. Kante and Silva in particular seemed to add a confidence and fluidity to the final 10 minutes. Another win for our German.
Chelsea go into half time in this 2 legged tie with a lead. We weren’t particularly great but that makes me feel better somehow. There is room for improvement in the 2nd leg and the players will know that. Before that though there is a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday as we look to bounce back in the league. COME ON CHELSEA!!!