With qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League assured, Chelsea aim to be only the second English team to win at the Estadio do Dragao. If we are to do so, it will be without Frank Lampard and Jose Bosingwa who did not make the trip to Porto. However, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, and Deco are available after missing the last match against Wolves, as is Ricardo Carvalho who was rested at the weekend. Gael Kikuta also made the trip as a part of Carlo Ancelotti’s 20-man squad.
Jesualdo Ferreira will have a full strength squad to pick from and will likely field a 4-3-3 formation, as he did against us in the first tie. The two dangermen for Porto will be the Brazilian born Hulk and the Colombian striker Falcao, with the former likely to play on the right wing and the latter playing through the middle. Their midfield also features Fernando Belluschi, Fernando, and Raul Meireles.
If there is one big weak point for this Porto side, it is their back line and goalkeeper. While Bruno Alves is a capable central defender, his partner Rolando has looked suspect at times. Also, Ferreira has had an issue at right back since our signing of Bosingwa, so Cristian Sapanaru and Jorge Fucile have both featured this year. Helton is their goalkeeper and as Chelsea have found out in the past, he can make the great save, but his decision making, shot stopping, and handling are a bit suspect.
One factor could also be match practice, as Porto have not played a competitive match since the 8th of November.
My personal feeling is that this should be a win for Chelsea. The first match between the two saw us squander a few good opportunities and Anelka scoring the only goal. Drogba wasn’t available for the match, so if he’s fit to return, he should make an impact. Ancelotti may also name an unchanged side from the weekend as our place in the knockout stages is assured and he could have one eye towards the visit to the Emirates on Sunday.