Pre-match briefing: Porto v Chelsea
news Tue 29 Sep 2015
The quest to make it two wins from two in this season’s Champions League group takes the Blues south to the Douro. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton supply the details…
Jose Mourinho returns tonight to Porto, where he won the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, two Primeira Liga titles, a Portuguese Cup and Super Cup, hoping to extend Chelsea’s winning run against his clubs from his homeland to nine.
Saturday was not the best preparation. For the third season running the champions slipped up at Newcastle ahead of a Champions League midweek. It is the second time that points have been dropped prior to European involvement this campaign. However according to UEFA Rankings, this is the continent’s fourth-best side visiting the club placed 11th. Going into such a fortress as the 50,000-capacity Estadio do Dragao, one he knows so well, Mourinho will hope it is the dynamic Blues of the second half at St James’ Park that kicks off this evening and not the languid one of the opening 45 minutes.
The Blues remain unbeaten in four games after Saturday’s 2-2 draw, but goals such as those conceded on Tyneside (albeit one from an incorrectly awarded corner) may be harder to cancel out against Julen Lopetegui’s Portuguese league leaders. In fact, Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara is the only visiting player to make the Dragons’ net bulge in more than 20 hours in all competitions since April.
Across Europe, it is not the only reigning champions of England who are yet to reach last season’s form. Barcelona have already conceded 19 goals, a total not reached until well into the New Year in 2014/15. Scudetto winners Juventus have managed just one win in six domestically, along with two draws and three defeats.
In Porto’s Primeira Liga, Benfica are also struggling to defend their crown, their two losses in six games helping Porto, with four wins and two draws, to rule the roost.
Our game tonight is arguably the most crucial of Champions League Group G. A win at the Dragao would put our main group rivals five points behind and, with the importance of head-to-head results, under pressure to triumph in December’s reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge.
Defeat for the Blues, coupled with an away victory for Dynamo Kiev against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, would open the group up completely.
The second match of the Champions League group stage often takes on a greater order of magnitude. Those successful teams on opening night are keen to press home their advantage and take a potentially decisive grip on the group, while the losers are desperate to recover lost ground before it is too late.
That is especially salient for English clubs as the fourth Champions League place is suddenly under threat from Italy’s Serie A for the first time.
Chelsea were the Premier League’s only first-night winners (pictured below). The others all lost and lie third in their groups – from which only two qualify for the knockout phase. As a result England’s club coefficient ranking, a sum of points accrued over the current and previous four seasons, is currently 65.659, compared to the Italians’ 61.605.
The points that make up the coefficient are awarded for wins, draws and for clubs reaching the various rounds. Had Manchester United not beaten Bruges in the qualification play-off, Italy would have edged into pole position to enter four teams in next season’s competition.
Chelsea’s contribution to the Premier League cause, though, has been far more significant, with the epic journeys to successive finals in 2012 and 2013 helping dwarf the contribution of other English sides.
The Blues have accrued 122.131 coefficient points, 30 more than Arsenal, 47 greater than Manchester City and 51 over Manchester United. Full details can be viewed by clicking here.
Perhaps the Premier League will ponder all this while noting Porto’s domestic league allowed them an extra day to prepare for this vital fixture.
Our visitors this coming Saturday evening, Southampton, have no midweek fixture as they were surprisingly eliminated from the Europa League in a play-off loss to lowly Midtjylland.
Other Group G fixture
Tonight 7.45pm Maccabi Tel Aviv v Dynamo Kiev
|UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP G|
|2 Dynamo Kiev||1||0||1||0||2||2||1|
|4 Maccabi Tel Aviv||1||0||0||1||0||4||0|
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Porto meet for a seventh time in European competition, all in the Champions League. The Blues have won four of the six previous meetings (including the last three) with Porto winning one.
The visit to the Estadio do Dragao during the 2009/10 group stage brought the Blues only away victory to date.
It was the fifth match of the round and Guus Hiddink’s side had already edged two games by 1-0 – including the meeting between the two sides at Stamford Bridge. Nicolas Anelka had clinched that Fulham Road win and it was the Frenchman who made the difference again in Portugal.
Both sides created chances and Fernando Belluschi came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 25-yard effort that rebounded off the bar. Earlier, another shot from the Argentinean was palmed by Petr Cech into the path of Falcao, but the goalkeeper recovered to save well.
The Blues enjoyed plenty of possession but were wasteful in the final third. It was not until the midway point of the second half approached that Yury Zhirkov started the decisive move, finding Florent Malouda down the left.
The France winger crossed for his fellow countryman Anelka, who stooped to head in the only goal of the game – his first for eight matches.
UEFA Champions League
29 Sep 2004 group stage
Chelsea………….3 Porto……………. 1
Smertin 7 McCarthy 68
7 Dec 2004 group stage
Porto….………….2 Chelsea.………. 1
Diego 60 Duff 33
21 Feb 2007 round of 16 1st leg
Porto….…………….1 Chelsea.………. 1
Meireles 12 Shevchenko 16
6 Mar 2007 round of 16 2nd leg
Chelsea………….2 Porto……………. 1
Robben 48 Quaresma 15
15 Sep 2009 group stage
Chelsea………….1 Porto……………. 0
25 Nov 2009 group stage
Porto….…………….0 Chelsea.………. 1
Chelsea’s biggest away win in the Champions League
20/10/1999 Galatasaray 0-5 Chelsea First group stage
25/11/2014 Schalke 0-5 Chelsea Group stage
Porto’s biggest home win in the Champions League
17/09/2014 Porto 6-0 BATE Borisov Group stage
Diego Costa should be fresh and eager to lead the Chelsea line tonight, a rare outing during his three-match domestic suspension, although Falcao will be returning to one of his old stomping grounds.
Diego Costa’s first encounter with tonight’s opponents came as an 18-year-old while at Sporting Braga in 2007, and six years later he netted Atletico’s second in a 2-0 group-stage home win.
Chelsea managed a 65 per cent dominance of the ball at St James’ Park and twice as many off-target attempts at goal, yet only really rattled a vulnerable Newcastle side with long, diagonal balls from the back to wide players, set-plays and Eden Hazard’s extended weaving runs.
Porto’s Julen Lopetegui is that rare breed, a former goalkeeper who became a top-level manager. The former Spain international coached his national teams from U19 to U21 levels (working with Cesar Azpilicueta) before taking up the Dragons’ reigns in 2014.
Although unable to win any silverware in his debut season, he did steer a young Porto team to the quarter-finals of this competition. Unfortunately at that stage they were jolted by a 6-1 away defeat to Bayern (matching the club’s worst ever defeat in Europe), 7-4 on aggregate.
Against Dynamo Kiev a fortnight ago, Lopetegui (suspended from the bench for the night) favoured a high defensive line, and started effectively with four tight central midfielders in Andre Andre, Danilo, Ruben Neves and Hector Herrera, protecting centre-backs Maicon and Bruno Martins Indi.
They formed a square around the middle of the field that served to stifle creativity on both sides. In the derby against Benfica a few days later Cristian Tello, then Jesus Corona, the Mexican trickster with lively feet, came off the bench, the two providing width and enterprise as wide forwards.
Another regular midfielder, Gilbert Imbula, missed the draw in Kiev but will probably play against Chelsea. The Belgian interceptor is capable of powerful surging runs from deep but he and Neves are not always alert to clever movement behind them.
Porto’s right-back, former Benfica man Maxi Pereira, is more attacking than Miguel Layun on the left. The Uruguayan (pictured below) will be familiar to Blues fans. He has lost twice previously to the Londoners and was dismissed for two cautionable offences in the first half of our 2-1 quarter-final win at the Bridge en route to the 2012 final of this competition.
Upfront the man mainly given the task of stepping into the boots of prolific Colombian marksman Jackson Martinez, now at Atletico, is powerfully built 23-year-old Vincent Aboubakar.
The Cameroon international’s first touch and pace are not phenomenal but he uses his weight well when running against defenders, and has a record of five goals in as many Champions League matches since 2014.
Jose Mourinho will pick the centre-backs he feels will be best able to cope not only with Aboubakar’s power but the nippier forwards close by that he brings into play, including those off the bench.
It was substitute Silvestre Varela’s deft touch that threw the Benfica defence and set up Andre for the crucial winner in ‘o clasico’ 10 days ago. By then, though, Aboubakar had been replaced by the more experienced Dani Osvaldo, who was in the Southampton side that lost 3-1 at the Bridge in 2013.
Iker Casillas, the Spain goalkeeper who switched to Portugal in the summer, is tonight set to reach 152 Champions League appearances, one more than Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez and a new milestone in this competition.
Although this is not the tallest Chelsea side in recent history, the visitors do enjoy a height advantage over Porto and set plays have proved a fruitful source of goals in recent few weeks. The Blues have 12 different goalscorers in all competitions (excluding opponents’ own goals) and both Willian’s strikes have come direct from free kicks.
Wide attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi is a slight doubt for Porto tonight after the Algeria international suffered a knee injury in the draw at Moreirense.
Chelsea have no one ruled out apart from Thibaut Courtois who is recovering from knee surgery. Asmir Begovic, who managed Chelsea’s first shutout in this competition for six matches against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, will continue in goal.
CHELSEA IN NUMBERS
This is Chelsea’s 13th successive season in the Champions League and 14th overall. We have reached the semi-final seven times, including the final twice.
Last year Chelsea won our group for the ninth time in our last 12 campaigns. We finished runners-up in two other years and failed to progress to the knockout stage just once in 2012/13.
Chelsea are seeking to extend our unbeaten away run in Europe to six games. The most recent loss was at Paris Saint-Germain in April 2014.
Chelsea’s last ten years in Europe
2005/06 Champions League – round of 16
2006/07 Champions League – semi-final
2007/08 Champions League – runners-up
2008/09 Champions League – semi-final
2009/10 Champions League – round of 16
2010/11 Champions League – quarter-final
2011/12 Champions League – winners
2012/13 Europa League – winners (having transferred from the Champions League group stage)
2013/14 Champions League – semi-final
2014/15 Champions League – round of 16
Last six games
Champions League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 5
Next three games
If selected, Willian will make his 100th appearance for Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho is seeking the 200th win of his two spells as Chelsea manager in his 307th match. Only our longest-service manager David Calderhead (1907-1933) has achieved the 200 milestone. (385 wins in 966 games).
Eden Hazard requires one goal for a half century of goals for the Blues. He will become only our eighth overseas player to reach that milestone.
PORTO IN NUMBERS
2 European Cups, last in 2004
1 UEFA Cup in 2003
1 UEFA Super Cup in 1987
27 Portuguese League championships, last in 2013
16 Portuguese Cups, last in 2011
20 Portuguese Super Cups, last in 2013
2 Intercontinental Cups, last in 2004
Champions League Quarter-final
Portuguese Cup Third round (round of 64)
Portuguese League Cup Semi-final
Top scorer in all competitions: Jackson Martinez 32
Last season was the first since 1988/89 in which Porto did not win a trophy.
The Dragons are competing in their 20th group stage campaign. They reached last season’s quarter-finals where they lost to Bayern Munich 7-4 on aggregate after winning the first leg at home 3-1.
Porto are unbeaten in their last 10 European home matches (seven wins, three draws).
They most recently faced English opposition in the 2011/12 Europa League round of 32, losing home and away to Manchester City.
Porto have won six and lost 17 of the 32 European games against English clubs.
Julen Lopetegui’s side currently top the Portuguese League on goal difference with 14 points from six games.
Last ten league seasons
Ten-year European record
2005/06 Champions League – group stage
2006/07 Champions League – round of 16
2007/08 Champions League – round of 16
2008/09 Champions League – quarter-final
2009/10 Champions League – round of 16
2010/11 Europa League - winners
2011/12 Europa League - round of 32 (having transferred from Champions League group stage)
2012/13 Champions League – round of 16
2013/14 Europa League – quarter-final (having transferred from Champions League group stage)
2014/15 Champions League – quarter-final
|Porto’s home record against English teams in Europe|
|1969/70||Newcastle||D 0-0||Fairs Cup second round first leg|
|1974/75||Wolves||W 4-1||UEFA Cup first round first leg|
|1977/78||Manchester Utd||W 4-0||Cup Winners Cup second round first leg|
|1991/92||Tottenham||D 0-0||Cup Winners Cup second round second leg|
|1996/97||Manchester Utd||D 0-0||Champions League quarter-final second leg|
|2000/01||Liverpool||D 0-0||UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg|
|2003/04||Manchester Utd||W 2-1||Champions League round of 16 first leg|
|2004/05||Chelsea||W 2-1||Champions League group stage|
|2006/07||Arsenal||D 0-0||Champions League group stage|
|2006/07||Chelsea||D 1-1||Champions League round of 16 first leg|
|2007/08||Liverpool||D 1-1||Champions League group stage|
|2008/09||Arsenal||W 2-0||Champions League group stage|
|2008/09||Manchester Utd||L 0-1||Champions League quarter-final second leg|
|2009/10||Chelsea||L 0-1||Champions League group stage|
|2009/10||Arsenal||W 2-1||Champions League round of 16 first leg|
|2011/12||Manchester City||L 1-2||Europa League round of 32 first leg|
Champions League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 2
A home defeat: 7
|Last six results|
|22 Aug||Maritimo (a)||D 1-1|
|29 Aug||Estoril (h)||W 2-0|
|12 Sep||Arouca (a)||W 3-1|
|16 Sep||Dynamo Kiev (a) Champions League||D 2-2|
|20 Sep||Benfica (h)||W 1-0|
|25 Sep||Moreirense (a)||D 2-2|
Champions League scorers
Domestic league scorers
Aboubakar 4, Corona 3, Maicon 2, Andre 1, Herrera 1, Varela 1
|Primeira Liga table – top half|
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, his assistant referees and additional assistant referees are from across the border in Spain. Lahoz’s only previous Chelsea game was another trip to Portugal, our 1-0 win at Sporting Lisbon almost exactly a year ago.
Diego Costa is available as his current suspension is for domestic games only.
Champions League bookings list:
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three and five yellow cards.
Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek 1.
Porto: Aboubakar 1, Danilo 1, Maicon 1, Pereira 1.