After the disappointing draw at St James’ Park last weekend, it should be expected that Chelsea’s players would be able to lift their heads and put up a strong comeback in the UEFA Champions League match against FC Porto, but that didn’t happen.
Chelsea had their first international setback of the season, as they’ve failed to get the three points from their visit to Estádio do Dragão last Tuesday. It was a special match for José Mourinho, who won his first major trophies as first-team manager with FC Porto, and the Portuguese head coach didn’t hide his feelings when he visited the Dragons’ museum on the day before the match.
Mourinho even got a round of applause after the break when he waved to the supporters on his way to the dugout before the start of the second-half.
Chelsea had some good moments throughout the match but were once again “betrayed” by the sloppiness of their defensive line, especially in Maicon’s goal, when the defenders allowed him to head home a corner from FC Porto’s wonder kid Ruben Neves. The Blues weren’t able to cope with the Dragons’ willpower and ended up losing the match by 2-1.
At the end of match, José Mourinho congratulated his players for their effort but lamented once again his side’s childish defensive mistakes that prevented them from, at least, securing a point one more time last Tuesday.
After their UEFA Champions League setback, Chelsea will have a very complicated match with Southampton, who seem to have finally got back on track after an inconsistent season start. That being said, Chelsea will certainly need to put in some extra elbow grease in order to grant the three points at Stamford Bridge next Saturday and this might probably be their strongest line-up for a predictably difficult match.
Asmir Begovic remains José Mourinho’s only reliable option in the absence of the Belgian netminder Thibaut Courtois.
Several international and experienced goalkeepers were linked to Chelsea last week, but neither Giorgi Loria nor Helton seem to be likely options for joining the London team during the next transfer window.
There is a strong possibility that John Terry will be returning to the centre of Chelsea’s defence line next weekend. The team’s charismatic captain would certainly be of the utmost importance in a moment where there an urgent need for change in the Blues’ back line.
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic and Zouma will probably occupy the remaining places of the defensive quartet.
Mourinho fielded Obi Mikel against FC Porto last Tuesday, but the Nigerian defensive midfielder failed once again to impress and ended being substituted in the second-half.
Nemanja Matic will probably make his way back into the starting XI next Saturday, where he will play together with Fàbregas, Willian, Pedro Rodriguez and Hazard in Mourinho’s asymmetric 4-2-3-1 tactical approach.
With Diego Costa still sidelined, Falcao seems to be the most likely option to occupy the vacant place up front.
Nevertheless, having in mind his recent performances, no one can guarantee if Mourinho is willing to give him another chance next weekend.