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The circumstances of the tie suggest both Chelsea and Porto will score in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Both Teams to Score (-112)
|Porto vs Chelsea|
|What||Porto vs Chelsea|
|Where||Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville,
|When||Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 3 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Chelsea may have kept a clean sheet in their 2-0 victory over Porto last week, but their Portuguese opponents had chances to find the back of the net. Sergio Conceicao’s side will have to dedicate more resources to attack in the second leg, and that should result in them breaching Chelsea’s backline.
There will also be plenty of opportunities for the Blues, who could sit a little deeper than usual and look to exploit any space that opens up on the counter-attack. For that reason, back both teams to score at -112.
Chelsea fans were relieved when their side avoided the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in the draw for the quarter-finals, but there was still reason to fear Porto. For starters, the Portuguese outfit had already upset the odds to deservedly knock out a Juventus team featuring Cristiano Ronaldo in the round of 16. Then, just days before the first leg, Chelsea suffered a humbling 5-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion which was reportedly followed by bust-ups in training.
In that context, their 2-0 victory in last week’s first meeting between the sides was impressive. Chelsea did not have everything their own way at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, which will also host the second leg due to coronavirus restrictions in England and Portugal. Porto created enough chances to have found the net at least once, and the match could have turned out very differently indeed had Conceicao’s men grabbed the opening goal.
As it was, Chelsea broke the deadlock through the excellent Mason Mount, and Ben Chilwell doubled their lead with five minutes left on the clock. That second goal gives Thomas Tuchel’s charges some breathing space ahead of Tuesday’s showdown, which counts as Chelsea’s home leg. The Blues are in a comfortable position, as evidenced by DraftKings Sportsbook odds of -5000 on the Premier League side to advance to the last four.
Chelsea’s confidence will have only been strengthened by a terrific performance at Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Blues ran out 4-1 winners at Selhurst Park and could easily have scored six or seven. That bodes well for their second dual with Porto.
Having said all that, Porto is not out of the tie just yet. If they score the first goal on Tuesday, Chelsea could get nervous. The Blues collapsed against West Brom not too long ago, and while that was at least in part down to their opponents’ numerical advantage following Thiago Silva’s sending-off, Porto will hope to bring out those same vulnerabilities here.
Overturning a two-goal deficit is a huge ask, but Porto does at least have clarity going into Tuesday’s game. Whereas Chelsea might be caught between two stools, not knowing whether to play on the front foot as they usually would or drop behind the ball to protect their lead, Porto knows they must attack from the first whistle. That does not mean Conceicao will go gung-ho in a reckless fashion, but the manager will know that an early goal could make all the difference.
Porto might not be one of Europe’s very best teams, but they deserve respect. Last week’s loss to Chelsea was only the third they have suffered in 2021, and they bounced back from defeat by the Blues to breeze past Tondela in the Primeira Liga at the weekend.
On top of all that, we have witnessed some remarkable comebacks in the Champions League in recent years, and those events should have taught us not to write Porto off completely. Chelsea will probably get the job done on Tuesday, but it is certainly not a formality.
The ‘to win’ market is always difficult in situations like this. Chelsea, after all, might not necessarily be going for a victory on the night, as a tie would be enough for them to advance. If the scores are level going into the closing stages, Tuchel’s side might not push for another goal as they would if it was a one-off match. For that reason, it is wise to steer clear of picking a winner between Chelsea and Porto.
The best alternative is for both teams to score. There is very little difference between the odds for ‘Yes’ and those for ‘No’ in the DraftKings Sportsbook market, but the former offers better value. Granted, both teams did not find the back of the net last time out, as Chelsea successfully kept Porto at bay. But the circumstances are different on this occasion, and the Portuguese side will be dedicating more attention to their attack.
That, in turn, should open up space for Chelsea on the break. Tuchel will no doubt pick a team capable of exploiting that, with plenty of pace and directness in forwarding areas. It is also worth bearing in mind that, although Porto did not manage to score in the first leg, they did rack up 1.5 expected goals. A repeat performance here would surely see them breach Chelsea’s backline.
We might not be treated to a particularly high-scoring spectacle on Tuesday, especially if there is no early goal. Even so, the best option for this game is for both teams to score.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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