Chelsea will travel to Portugal for the Champions League clash and will hope to gain an early advantage before going into the second leg.
Chelsea faced their first defeat under their new manager, Thomas Tuchel over the weekend in the Premier League. The Blues were thrashed by West Brom, by a scoreline of 5-2, at Stamford Bridge. It was a reality check for Tuchel’s men, as their defence was all over the place against the Baggies after being down to 10 men.
The Blues, now shift their attention towards the Champions League, with a crunch quarterfinal fixture against FC Porto. Chelsea defeated Atletico Madrid in the last 16, as the defenders put in a great shift at the back. The London side kept Atletico’s forwards at bay, as Diego Simeone’s men failed to score a single goal over the course of two legs.
Chelsea will travel to Portugal for the first leg, and have named a strong 23-man squad, with the likes of N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic, all being a part of the touring party. Thomas Tuchel is expected to ring in a few changes from the side that faced West Brom on Saturday.
Edouard Mendy will certainly start between the sticks for the Blues. Thiago Silva put in a nightmare performance against the Baggies and was shown a red card, after he picked up two yellow cards within the first half an hour. As a result, he is expected to be on the bench on Wednesday. One of the biggest headlines of the week, coming from Chelsea’s camp was Antonio Rudiger‘s training spat with Kepa Arrizabalaga. Although, a part of the Blues squad, Rudiger might find himself on the bench alongside Silva.
Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta will start as centre-backs against Porto and will be looking forward to putting in a good shift. Ben Chilwell is expected to get the nod over Marcos Alonso for a place in the starting lineup on the left flank. The Spanish left-back started over the weekend, which can be an indication that Chilwell will feature on Wednesday. Reece James will hold his place in the team and will operate from the right-wing back position.
N’Golo Kante is fit enough to be named in the squad and will start from the bench against Porto, as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel. This means that Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic will operate from the centre of the park. Mason Mount, who has been touted as Blues’ best player of the season so far, will return to the starting lineup as the attacking midfielder. The Englishman had an instant impact against the Baggies, as he came off the bench to score his side’s second goal.
Hakim Ziyech was on the scoresheet against Atletico Madrid in the second leg and is expected to hold his place in the starting lineup on the right-wing. The Moroccan was unfortunate to be subbed off early against West Brom, as Thomas Tuchel decided to sacrifice an attacker after Thiago Silva picked up a red card.
Olivier Giroud can be expected to start against Porto, ahead of Timo Werner. The Frenchman’s physicality can be of utmost importance against an imposing defence. Giroud showed his goal-scoring abilities against Atletico Madrid, as he scored an incredible bicycle kick to hand his side a precious away goal, heading into the second leg.