Thomas Tuchel & co. trip to the city of Carmen and the home of Flamenco to take on FC Porto in the second-leg of their Uefa Champions League quarter-final at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
The Blues, who made impressive return to winning ways in domestic league, with 4-1 defeat Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park, head into the game aiming of progress to the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League for the first time since 2014.
Chelsea are in driving seat ahead of this evening second-leg tie against Portuguese giants, leading 2-0 from last Wednesday’s first-leg.
Superb individual goals from English pair Mount and Chilwell put Chelsea in a commanding position ahead of this evening’s second-leg, meaning they are strong favourites to progress to the last-four and book a semi-final date with either Real Madrid or Liverpool.
And ahead of crucial clash against FC Porto, who knockout Italian champions Juventus out of competitions before reach quarter-final stage, Thomas Tuchel & co. have received fresh injury blow on Mateo Kovacic, who suffered a hamstring injury in training on Monday.
The Croatia international has been a key player under Thomas Tuchel, failing to start on just three occasions since the arrival of German coach. It means Tuchel will have to make a big change to his starting XI with N’Golo Kante, who made back-to-back substitute appearances since recovering from hamstring tear, now forced to play.
Meanwhile, Tuchel has confirmed late decision will be made on Kante’s involvement in tonight second-leg tie against FC Porto. The German coach does not want to take any risks on him ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.
‘I will take the decision tomorrow morning about central midfield,” he explained yesterday.
‘It’s hard to imagine a game like this without N’Golo Kante, but at the same time, we really need to be absolutely careful with him, be certain that we don’t take risks with his health and injury situation.’
Moving on to predicted starting lineup, there’s a lot of chance when Chelsea take on FC Porto tonight. Players like Silva, who has had a good one-week rest after having missed the Palace clash due to suspension, should slot in at the heart of the Chelsea defence, alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger.
Despite provided an assist in Blues’ 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, Reece James is expected to start at right wing-back ahead Hudson-Odoi due to the Englishman’s more well-rounded defensive capabilities while Ben Chilwell is expected to continue on the left ahead of Marcos Alonso. Edouard Mendy remains the first choice in goal.
Moving into the middle of the park, in absence of Kovacic, N’Golo Kante is likely to hand his first to build his fitness with substitute appearances in the last two matches. The Frenchman could be in line for a start tonight against FC Porto, with Jorginho partnering him.
Mason Mount is undroppable and will once again start on the right of the front three while Christian Pulisic, who produced remarkable performance at the weekend, should be rewarded with another start.
Also Kai Havertz, who produced his best Chelsea performance at Selhurst Park, should continue in his favoured false nine role. That would mean the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner miss out once again.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz