The interesting thing about this round of sixteen clash in the UEFA Champions League is that Porto have never lost against Italian side Roma. In fact, the Portuguese side won impressively on their last visit to the Stadio Olimpico. Read our Roma v Porto betting tips for more.
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on February 10th, 2019 at 7:23 p.m.)
Roma finished second in their group in the Champions League this season. They took a W3 L3 record from their fixtures, the Italians finishing three points behind Real Madrid. Against Real Madrid, Roma suffered 3-0 and 2-0 defeats. The other defeat which they suffered in the group stage was on matchday six against Viktoria Plzen which means that the Italians have lost back to back games in the competition.
Roma were semi-finalists last season where they were beaten by Liverpool. Roma has returned a W3 L3 record in their previous round of sixteen ties in the Champions League. Last season at this stage they beat Shakhtar Donetsk, their second leg win in that tie snapping a five-match losing streak they were on round of sixteen matches. From six previous knockout ties against Portuguese sides, Roma are W3 L3. Their overall record against Portuguese teams is W5 D4 L2. Roma have won eight of their last 16 home matches in the UEFA Champions League (including qualifying).
There have been four previous matches between them
Porto hold a W2 D2 record against Roma
Porto won 3-0 on their last visit to the Stadio Olimpico
It was at this stage last season that Porto were knocked out of the Champions League. They were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool. Proto have only managed the one win in their last five ties. They are back at this stage for the third season on the bounce now but have failed to get to the quarterfinals since the 2014/15 season. So it’s not been great from them at this stage of the competition, but they have a W5 L4 record in two-legged ties against Italian sides in Europe.
Porto knocked out Roma in the 1981/82 European Cup Winners’ Cup. The next time they met them they picked up a 4-1 aggregate win over the Italians in the 2016/17 Champions League playoffs. Currently, Porto are on a five-match unbeaten streak of form in the Champions League away from home (W2 D3). They have actually won only three of their last nine games on the road in Europe (D4 L2). They did produce some fantastic form in the group stage, winning their last five games in a row to finish top of their pile. With their sixteen points collected in their group stage games, Porto earned more points than any other team.
There is a bit of a temptation to have a look at Porto coming up with something in this one. They did really well in the group stage and may not be particularly phased by this trip to Rome. The +0.50 Asian Handicap on the visitors appeals which sees a payout as a win if they draw.
11th February 2019 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
The Reds hold a 5-0 advantage from the first leg after churning out a powerful performance out on the road against Porto. Sadio Mane fired off a hattrick as Liverpool put one big foot in the next round. Now it is just a matter of coasting through the easy 90 minutes back on home soil against a side who are scoreless in four in England.
Liverpool are moving along nicely in form at the moment, having won their last four games on the bounce in all competitions. In the first leg of this tie out in Portugal, they were in a hungry mood as they stormed their way to a 5-0 victory. So they are unbeaten in six games overall now, winning five of those and so shouldn’t have any troubles seeing this out. They will face Manchester United in the Premier League on the weekend though, so they are likely to take this easy with the job pretty much done. Liverpool have only suffered one defeat at Anfield this season, which was an FA Cup tie against West Brom back that end of January. The Reds have been in terrific scoring form all season and in each of their last eight games at Anfield, they have scored at least two goals in each. Over 2.5 goals at Bet365 should have immediate appeal. Just once before have Liverpool lost at home against a side from Portugal and hold a W6 D2 L1 record. Liverpool also holds a W5 L2 record in two-legged contests against Portuguese sides. Their unbeaten streak of home form in Europe is at thirteen games now (W9 D4) and really this should be a walk in the park. Liverpool have won all 32 UEFA ties after winning the first leg away.
Porto are pretty much out of this then and it’s a strange game for them to be going into. The first leg loss was their heaviest ever European home defeat. They are not in any kind of form particularly in Europe having won only one of their last four ties in the rounnd of sixteen in the Champions League and their record away to English clubs is W0 D2 L15. Porto have come up with just the three wins only in their last nine European fixtures so and so they aren’t likely to be a big threat here. But maybe against a somewhat disinterested Liverpool, they could get a consolation on the board and therefore both teams to score at Bet365 is a decent 4/5 odds option* (betting odds taken on March 4th, 2018 at 6:58 p.m.). In ten previous two-legged ties against English sides, Porto are at W3 L7 and the Dragons are on a five-match losing streak in England, without having scored a single goal in that sequence of games. Last season they went to Leicester and suffered a defeat. A group stage win in Monaco is Porto’s only away win in their last five and they have also only won one of seven previous UEFA ties after losing the first leg at home.
There have been the five previous meetings between Liverpool and Porto and the Reds hold an unbeaten W3 D2 record. Their last home game against them was back in 2007 in the group stage and the Reds cruised to a 4-1 victory. Their other home game against Porto was back in 2001 at the quarter final stage of the UEFA Cup, the Reds winning 2-0.
Liverpool 4/9, Draw 10/3, Porto 6/1* (Betting Odds taken at 5:41 p.m. on February 23rd, 2018)
It is worth backing Liverpool to win but for both teams to score in the second leg. They can cruise through and don’t even need to be at full strength for what is to come, however, Porto look well below the quality needed to make an impact here and Liverpool should see them off again.
5th March 2018 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
The Italians have a comfortable lead in the tie having won 2-0 out in Portugal in the first leg. They left it late with both goals coming in the final twenty minutes, but still the odds are heavily stacked in their favour now to get through to the next round. There’s a big task ahead for Porto then, but they did land a 3-0 win out in Roma in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs. They need another immense night like that here. Juventus are 4/6 for the win, with the draw at 14/5 and Porto at 9/2.
Take the chance to land some extra returns on your accumulators thanks to Bet365’s 100% Euro Soccer bonus. Just land a winning acca of three or more selections on selected competitions and markets and earn up to a 100% win bonus! This offer applies to returns on pre-match accumulators of 3 or more selections on Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets for the Premier League, Serie A, Primera Liga, Bundesliga 1 or Champions League. Register an account with the bookmaker and earn a 100% matched deposit bonus from them as well.
So will this just be a comfortable ride for Juventus who are defending an unbeaten W3 D1 record against Porto? Punters will probably be expecting it end up that week. Juventus have lost just one of their last eleven Champions League knockout stage matches on home soil (W6 D4) so will be heavily backed. Juventus are holding all the aces after substitute Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves scored their two goals just 141 seconds apart in the first leg. The last six goals that Juventus have scored in the Champions League have all come in the second half of matches so it may not be a bad punt to go Draw/Juventus Half Time/Full Time at Bet365 which is a price of 3/1. Juventus are an imposing home side in Europe but only went W1 D2 in the group stage in Turin.
Juventus’s 12 encounters with Portuguese sides have ended W6 D2 L4; at home it is W3 D1 L1 and each of the four defeats in that sequence all came against Benfica. Juventus are actually unbeaten in their last 20 matches in UEFA competitions (W11 D9) on home soil, going back to a defeat against Bayern Munich in April 2013. The Italians have won each and every one of their 26 UEFA ties in which they won the first leg away from home. They have only ever lost twice at home after an away victory in the first leg. They didn’t concede a single shot on target against in the first leg and it should be easy enough for them back on home soil. Gonzalo Higuain is 20/21 anytime goal scorer favorite for the second leg. Juventus have conceded just two goals in the Champions League this season and are a price of 8/5 to win to nil at Bet365.
Not one team (13 previous instances) has ever progressed having lost the 1st leg of a Champions League knockout tie by a scoreline of 0-2 (at home). Porto too have only made it to the quarter finals once from their last six Champions League participations. On top of that, they have also only won only one of their last nine 2nd Leg Champions League knockout matches away from home (D2 L6) conceding, conceding 18 times in their last five such fixtures. Andre Silva has scored four of Porto’s nine goals this season in the competition and he is a 21/10 anytime goalscorer option. The Portuguese side have won only one of the six UEFA competition ties in which they lost the home first leg and overall hold a W8 D9 L12 record against Italian opposition.
This should be routine enough for Juventus in this one. Bayern Munich are the only side to beat Juventus in their last 40 matches on home soil in Europe. They aren’t likely to fall in this one and they are worth backing to win to nil in this second leg as well. Porto aren’t likely to make too much of an impact.
14th March 2017 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
Date & Kick-Off: Thursday, 7 April 2011 – 20:05 (GMT)
Venue: Estadio do Dragao; Porto, Portugal
TV Coverage: ITV4
Tournament favourites FC Porto will fancy their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals after yet again being drawn alongside Russian opponents, with Spartak Moscow all that stands between the newly crowned Portuguese champions and a semi-final date with either Villarreal of Spain or FC Twente of Holland.
Porto have won all six of their previous European affairs with teams originating from Russia, incidentally all six victories coming over CSKA Moscow, whom they beat in the Round of 16 3-1 on aggregate en route to booking another tie with Russian foes. However Spartak, who dropped down from the Champions League after finishing third in Group F behind Chelsea and Marseille, should hand Andre Vilas Boas’ side a sterner test over two legs.
Spartak thrashed Ajax in their Round of 16 tie 4-0 and have lost only one of five away contests in Europe this season, when going down 4-1 at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea. Moreover, since dropping down from the Champions League, the Russian side have also won both away clashes in their Round of 32 and 16 ties. So they certainly bring with them the right credentials to challenge the competition favourites for a spot in the last-4.
However, Porto will take some budging. Not only will spirits be high in the dressing room – the Dragons having recently claimed back their Portuguese title from Benfica with plenty of games to spare – the 2002/03 UEFA Cup winners have only lost once at home in Europe this season, that a 1-0 reverse in the second leg of their Round of 32 tie with Sevilla – a loss which had no impact, in the end, on who prevailed from a tasty tie – and are the second most prolific team left in the tournament.
Powerful yet technically very sound, one way of describing a team many believe will be crowned Europa League champions in Dublin next month. One player in particular who is a real handful is Colombian forward Falcao, who really is a powerhouse of a centre-forward and has only Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi ahead of him in the scoring charts, having so far plundered 7 goals in the competition.
Midfielders Joao Moutinho and Fredy Guarin, as well as the sought-after Brazilian Hulk, are just some of the dangerous players at coach Boas’ disposal who are set to put the visitors’ defence under plenty of scrutiny.
Agile and very dangerous on the counter is how I would sum up Spartak’s general style, with Republic of Ireland winger Aidan McGeady troublesome out on the left. However they also have a huge advantage when playing at home in the second-leg, with their artificial surface so often criticised by opposing camps, not to mention the bitterly cold conditions. Their aim in the opening leg will be to contain a very talented Porto front line for as long as possible before hopefully clinching the tie back at home.
Final Verdict: Although Spartak will set themselves up to defend in numbers as they bid to retain a clean sheet for as long as humanely possible, I strongly believe their resistance will be broken at one point or another by a powerful yet persistent Porto attack. Falcao and Hulk are a strike-duo strong and skilful enough to cause any defence in world football problems, so it will take a colossal effort from Spartak in order to nullify one of the most clinical forward set-ups for the full 90 minutes.
In my opinion, it all depends on when Porto make the breakthrough. If it’s early, we could see a flood of goals for the home side as once they get going, they’re so difficult to halt. With that said, the visitors will be dangerous on the break.
Round of 32: BEAT Sevilla 2-2 on aggregate via away goals (Home 0-1; Away 1-2)
Round of 16: BEAT CSKA Moscow 3-1 on aggregate (Home 2-1; Away 0-1)
Round of 32: BEAT FC Basel 4-3 on aggregate (Home: 1-1; Away 2-3)
Round of 16: BEAT Ajax 4-0 on aggregate (Home: 3-0; Away 0-1)
6th April 2011 / Matt - Category: Europa League Betting
Arsenal V FC Porto
Tuesday, 9th March – 19:45 GMT
First Leg: FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal
The first leg finished in controversial circumstances as FC Porto clinched a vital home win to boost their Quarter-Final claims. However, their winner, scored by Colombian Falcao, was met by stinging criticism by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger because Falcoa was allowed to stroke the ball home into an empty net after the referee acknowledged Porto’s quickly taken free-kick. While the entire Arsenal squad were left feeling aggrieved, they only had themselves to blame after gifting the Portuguese side both of their goals, with Porto’s first coming by virtue of a goalkeeping howler from Lukasz Fabianski, while their second, that of Falcao’s, was made possible after Sol Campbell’s intended back pass for Fabianski in the Arsenal goal was picked up.
The first leg was a catalogue of errors for the Gunners as their mistakes proved costly. However, there was one positive to take from the game and that was Sol Campbell’s 18th minute header. His first goal for the club since re-joining the Gunners in January ensured Arsenal at least left Porto with a vital away goal, a goal which leaves this tie firmly hanging by a knife edge. However, Arsenal are still favoured by the bookmakers to see off their Portuguese opponents, with Arsenal a general best priced 1.67. Porto, however, whom hold all the aces after their 2-1 victory in Portugal, are perhaps more attractive at 2.25 with VCbet, although do they have it in them to record a big result on English soil.
Outright odds: 14/1 Coral
It was a good weekend for the Gunners as preparations for this second clash with Porto went to plan with a routine victory over Burnley last Saturday. Granted the performance of the Arsenal team wasn’t the best, but the three points they earned from that win kept up the pressure on Chelsea & Man Utd, with Arsenal now just two points off the pace currently set by Manchester United and full of confidence after their fourth league win the spin. Arsene Wenger will be hoping that victory over Burnley will be the platform to a successful Tuesday night, but will the Portuguese giants spoil the party of another English side.
While Arsenal remain the favourites to qualify at the expense of Porto (Arsenal to Qualify, 1.62 SkyBet), this Porto side can be dangerous, especially when they are being completely written off. Manchester United found out the hard way when they when they fell behind to the then champions of Portugal before eventually finishing with an unsatisfactory 2-2 draw. Should the same result occur at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal would be packing their Champions League bags, so it’s imperative the Gunners don not underestimate their Tuesday night opponents.
Arsene Wenger was dealt a huge blow though, arguably the biggest he could of ever of imagined before such an important encounter, in that Cesc Fabregas is a major doubt after picking up a hamstring injury during Arsenal 3-1 win at home to Burnley on Saturday. Fabregas, whom opened the scoring for Arsenal at the weekend, is the puppet master in the heart of the Arsenal midfield, pulling all the strings of his fellow midfielders and forward team-mates. His deft little touches, his vision on the ball, his quick interchanges with those around him, all of which Arsenal will sorely miss should he not be fit in time for this clash. Were this nightmare to become a reality then Arsene Wenger will be short of some creative spark in the centre-of-midfield, while the danger runs and clinical finishing from the Spaniard are also fine attributes that Arsenal will have to cope without.
The plus point for you Gunners is playing at the Emirates, a stadium where Arsenal have been notoriously strong at this season with only Man Utd & Chelsea beating Arsenal there in all competitions. Even without Fabregas, Arsenal should still find some sort of attacking rhythm. This should especially be the case after watching Arsenal plug on without their talismanic midfielder in the second half of their weekend game with Burnley, with the Gunners creating more than half-a-dozen clear cut chances in the second half alone. Our only reservation is should Arsenal go a good 45 minutes and then some without a goal that would level the tie on aggregate, do they have an individual willing to step up and become a hero, a role Fabregas would duly fill. We aren’t so sure they do so a strong start is crucial if Arsenal want to switch the pressure back onto their Portuguese opponents and restore the parity lost from the first-leg.
Outright odds: 66/1 PaddyPower
Unlike their English opponents, FC Porto’s weekend didn’t exactly go to plan as they could only warm up for this hotly anticipated last-sixteen clash with a draw back in Liga Sagres in Portugal. Porto, whom were a general 1/5 to win on Saturday night, drew Olhanense, a team second from bottom in the Portuguese SuperLiga. That draw was important as it mean Porto haven’t won a competitive fixture since their victory over Arsenal in the first-leg, which begs the question; are Porto consistent enough in their performances to produce a display worthy of taking them through to the quarter-final stage of the competition?
We would have to say no, with this especially being so after taking a look at Porto’s away fortunes back in their own respective domestic league; PLD: 10, W: 4. Not only that but their previous visit to the Emirates Stadium didn’t exactly go to plan, or well for that matter, with Porto being on the receiving end of a 4-0 whitewash when the two teams met in the group stages of last season. However, Arsenal’s goalscorers that day are either unavailable or no longer at the club, and what with Fabregas, Arsenal’s most influential player being missing, perhaps the Gunners are low on ammunition as Porto head back for another bite at the Arsenal cherry.
Porto rode their luck in the first leg but reaped the rewards as a direct result. Their 2-1 first-leg leaves the tie wide open with both sides boasting serious claims for progression. However, the dangerous factor as far as Porto are concerned is the away goal Arsenal scored, so while Porto do hold the one goal ace card over the Gunners, Porto would need a goal of their own to really pile the pressure on Arsenal. An away goal for Porto isn’t out of the question though considering they put two past Manchester United in the very same stage of last seasons competition. They would, however, need a performance similar to that at Old Trafford a year ago, with some quick breakaways and some clinical finishing. Porto were a menace at Old Trafford that night, bombing forward with electric pace and with plenty of support, and should they deploy similar tactics at the Emirates on Tuesday night then perhaps a shock could be on the cards.
Our Verdict: Draw – 4.00 bWin
Porto are one of those teams which you love to draw, but then know you must attain a positive result in the away leg to leave yourself in the driving seat. While Arsenal do have that away goal, the one goal deficit does leave them extremely vulnerable as the omen is on them to ask all the questions and to commit men forward to attack in order to level the tie. That doesn’t sound at all good for us as Porto are one of the masters at breaking out from defence at an alarming rate, aided by plenty of forward support. Moreover, This Arsenal defence has been found wanting when backtracking against the very best in England on more than one occasions in the past month or two, which has got us thinking that perhaps Porto are the team to side with, at least as far as qualifying goes. One goal from them would leave Arsenal needing at least two goals just to take this tie into extra-time and we wouldn’t put it past the Portuguese champions scoring at the Emirates.
Interesting Fact: In nine previous attempts to reverse a first-leg deficit, Arsenal have only been successful on one occasion.
Arsenal – 1.62 SkyBet
Draw – 4.00 bWin
FC Porto – 6.50 Bet365
7th March 2010 / Matt - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
UEFA Champions League – Round of 16
FC Porto V Arsenal
Wednesday, 17th February – 19:45 GMT (ITV1)
Match Odds: 2.70 PaddyPower
Recommended Bet: HULK FGS – 7/1 BetFred
FC Porto, thee giant of Portugal football, will go up against yet another English opponent, this time in the knock-out stages when they take on Arsenal, with the first leg this time in Portugal. Last season, after a memorable draw in Manchester, Porto exited the competition at the quarter-final stage after a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United, the eventual losing finalists. Porto crumbled under the expectant pressure from their home fans on that occasion and will be hoping to avoid a case of deja vu when Arsenal pay them a visit on Wednesday night.
Portuguese sides have always been feared for their skills on the ball, their quick feet and their obsession with diving. The latter proving that even the prettier of teams on the eye can still be rather unattractive. However, the one thing that has been disappointing about Portuguese sides in recent years is that they generally disappoint in the Champions League, with Sporting Lisbon and Benfica failing in their bids to make any real impact on Europe. However, Porto are an exemption to the rule as they’ve been one of the most consistent teams in Europe for many a season and only need to search back to 2004 for their last Champions League success when they won the competition under a well know Jose Mourinho. Since, though, many big names have left for pastures new, but this new crop of theirs, one which gave United a right going over last season, is bred for success and Arsenal will need to be wary of the potential threat Porto boast.
Porto’s best trait is undoubtedly their attacking ability,but even their best attribute can let them down on occasions. Their worst trait coincides with this in that Porto are extremely inconsistent and proved this last season when they drew 2-2 at Man Utd, cauing United all sorts of problems in defence and deservedly scoring twice, only to lose 1-0 in Porto after an abysmal showing from the home side, rarely troubling Van der Saar in the United goal. However, that is the main problem with Porto in that they generally don’t come out to play when the pressure is firmly on them. They are one of those typical sides that thrive off being the underdogs, it was the main reason why the won the competition nearly six years ago, and, with many touting Arsenal as the firm favourites to progress, perhaps it’s time for another Porto surprise as tails back in Portugal begin to wag…
It is worth pointing out that Porto did suffer a setback at the weekend when they drew 0-0 at Leixoes. That draw has been one of a number of disappointing results in the league for Porto this season and they’ve now fallen nine points off the pace of Benfica at the top of the table. Their sluggish league campaign is an unwanted distraction ahead of their Champions League clash with Arsenal, but, on the same token, bare in mind that Porto have lost just once at home this season in all competitions, with that solitary defeat coming against Chelsea in the group stage. They’ve not lost in ten games back in Portugal, whilst they’ve won their last two Champions League fixtures after victories over APOEL & Athletico Madrid in the Group- While their form isn’t perfect, it’s certainly still very strong.
Match Odds: 2.88 SkyBet
Recommend Bet: Cesc Fabregas FGS – 10/1 totesport
Arsene Wenger was both delighted and optimistic ahead of his sides clash with the Portuguese champions. The Gunners were beginning to fall off the wagon before a morale, and league, saving win over Liverpool at The Emirates a week to the day ago. It put an end to Arsenal’s run of back-to-back defeats in the league and they can now head over to Portugal with new found belief that all is not lost as they aim to start the knock-out with a win in a bid to surpass their previous best in Europe, which was a final appearance back in 2006.
Arsene Wenger was over the moon with Arsenal’s display in their last outing, a 1-0 victory at home to a resurgent Liverpool. However, while the result was great, as it did end a dire run of two straight defeats to their closest title rivals, it was against a very poor Liverpool side on the night, while Arsenal themselves weren’t exactly a picture of perfection. However, the big positive was that Arsenal won a scrappy affair, a game which didn’t require glamorous football but more along the lines of fight and spirit and Arsenal showed a great deal of both. Diaby scored Arsenal’s winner with a late header and a similar result, aided by the same scorer, wouldn’t go a miss for Arsene Wenger on Wednesday night on what is expected to be a tough night in Porto for his players.
The small niggle of concern for us is that everyone is rampantly talking up Arsenal’s chances of bypassing Porto in the last sixteen, with many claiming this will be an easier two-legged affair. Arsenal rarely do easy, especially in Europe, and I can remember an occasion with PSV when Arsenal were heavily fancied to do the business and were beaten by an Alex header in Holland. Now, we rate Porto on par with the PSV of 2006-2007, and so, Arsenal will need to keep their wits about them and avoid any such arrogance or complacency if they are to see of their Portuguese opponents in a professional manner.
The omens also aren’t the best for Wenger and his side as they lost on their last visit to the Estadio do Dragao stadium in last seasons group stage of the competition, losing 2-0. Moreover, while both Man Utd & Chelsea have beaten Porto recently, before those two defeats Porto were unbeaten in eleven against English opponents, with Portugal somewhat of a graveyard for English sides in the past. The Gunners did manage a goalless draw back in 2006 though, a result which would be welcomed by manager Arsene Wenger we would feel as while Arsenal boast far more quality in depth, Porto have generally been a tough nut to crack in Europe.
Match Verdict: Draw – 3.25 Bet365
If Arsenal apply themselves in the right manner, playing in their usual free-flowing manner then they should get at least a draw in Portugal. However, if they simply turn up and think Porto will roll over then Arsenal will get punished. Porto are very dangerous in attack, with some silky individuals who can leave a defender for dead whilst slamming home the finish. While Arsenal are the worthy favourites and should go through, Porto are no mugs and we expect the Portuguese side, the only one left in the competition, to push Arsenal, especially in Portugal, and so it’s crucial Arsenal’s big players turn up and play their A-Game in a bid to at least match Porto’s goalscoring efforts. An away goal would be ideal for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, but we feel this could petter out into a goalless draw, one which neither would begrudge in fairness.
FC Porto – 2.70 PaddyPower
Draw – 3.25 Bet365
Arsenal – 2.88 SkyBet
FC Porto – 3.00 Bet365
Arsenal – 1.40 PaddyPower
Football-Bookmakers.com Value Tip: 0-0 Correct Score – 8.50 SkyBet
15th February 2010 / Matt - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
FC Porto V Chelsea
Wednesday 25th November – 19:45 GMT
Group D Position: 1st
Group D Form: WWWD
This is something of a nothing fixture for both sides as both are through, although, there is still the small matter of deciding who finishes top of the Group. Whoever does finish on top should, although it doesn’t always pan out like it, have the easier draw of the two when the games are drawn for the last sixteen. To be honest, Chelsea won’t be too bothered if they finish first or second as they have the squad capable of beating absolutely anyone on their day, but Porto aren’t so fortunate as to have such an array of talent at their disposal and could do with progressing as far as they can, and a generous last sixteen draw could help them in their cause.
Athletico Madrid appeared to be Porto’s main rivals for a second place finish but Chelsea made sure that the Madrid side wouldn’t get a sniff. With Porto dropping just three points thus far, that coming in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, although it was back in England, Porto comfortably secured second place. However, the side that did them a favour in giving next to nothing away against Athletico Madrid – Chelsea, is now the side that FC Porto must beat in order to seize control of top position, albeit facing a tough trip to Athletico Madrid after.
For all those who can remember, Porto won the competition nearly six years ago, back in the 2003/2004 season. However, they were actually a tidy little force back then but they’ve been clinical at best in this seasons Champions League, with two of their three victories thus far coming by a one goal margin, both actually coming against the worst team in the Group on paper – APOEL. Porto did beat Athletico 2-0, though, in Portugal, and did manage to frustrate Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Match Day 1, losing 1-0, so perhaps they could be another tough nut to crack back at Estadio Dragao, the home of FC Porto.
The danger men will be Falcao, a Colombian striker who scored Porto’s winner on Match Day 3, a goal which sealed their berth into the last sixteen. While Brazilian, Hulk, was the biggest danger back at Stamford Bridge and was a right nuisance when Porto took on Manchester United at Old Trafford last season. He didn’t really show his true potential in the return leg against the Red Devils at Estadio Dragao so he will need to make amends against Chelsea on Wednesday night. Raul Meireles will be Porto’s main source of creativity and he is a player who we would pinpoint as the biggest danger man as most of Porto’s play goes through the Portuguese international.
Group D Position: 1st
Group D Form: WWWD
Chelsea strolled towards early qualification from what was a tricky looking Group D, but that doesn’t mean Carlo Ancelotti has reverted his attentions back to league action. Chelsea will want to end the Group stages of the competition as Group D’s top dogs and a win in Portugal would ensure they do just that. Up to this point, Chelsea’s only win less game came in Madrid when a late Aguero stunner spoilt Chelsea’s pre-party celebrations. Previously, Chelsea had won all three of their opening fixtures, beating FC Porto (1-0), APOEL (0-1) & smashing Athletico Madrid 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have been on the road twice in this seasons Champions League, and both captured Chelsea putting in two unconvincing performances. They had to work hard and convert one of a rare few chances to beat Group D’s basement side – APOEL, while, although they were a lot better in Madrid, Athletico were still the better side throughout most of the game and asked most of the questions. Four points from six is still a fine away tally, it’s better than some English sides we could mention, but there is still room for improvement, and Carlo Ancelotti will be fully aware of this.
Carlo Ancelotti will be well aware that one more win would be enough to nail down 1st position, and he will also have one eye on Chelsea’s last fixture with APOEL at home, a game which should be a three point banker. However, if he can get the job done earlier then planned then all the merrier and we expect to see a strong Chelsea side on that pitch on Wednesday night, although some will be given a welcomed rest. We would literally be guessing if we were to name players that might not play but Frank Lampard definitely won’t feature, Didier Drogba could also sit this game out as he has struggled with a rib injury lately. Jose Bosingwa has been ruled out for four months, pretty much all season, while Ashley Cole could also be given the week off after he recently made his return to training.
Chelsea boast one of the strongest defensive records in the competition but they go up against a team that have conceded just as little as themselves in Porto. Petr Cech has had his critics this season, most of them deserved, but he has been a consistent performer in the Champions League, conceding just two goals thus far, both of those coming in Madrid in that 2-2 draw. Porto, however, have yet to concede more than 2 goals in any one game this season, so perhaps Chelsea’s usual sharp forward line could actually be tested, for once!
Match Verdict:- Draw – 3.40 SkyBet
Chelsea played their first game without influential midfielder and goalscoring machine (A tad melodramatic) in Frank Lampard, at the weekend, and came through unscaved. The Blues’ did win in a comprehensive manner, 4-0, but it was against a poor Wolves side and it will be interesting to see how the likes of Michael Essien, a player who bagged two on Saturday, Deco & possibly Mikel, how they not only control the midfield but also how well they can get forward to help and supply the forwards. We don’t think they will necessarily struggle but they could be short of room, while Porto should be more than comfortable playing at home to enable them to take great strides forward. Porto have players which can strike a ball from anywhere and Cech has already shown his vulnerability from long distance strikes this season. A draw would be a fair result, one that would keep Chelsea in form control of top spot.
FC Porto – 3.00 Coral
Draw – 3.40 SkyBet
Chelsea – 2.50 Boylesports
Football-Bookmakers.com Value Bet: 0-0 Correct Score – 8.50 Bet365
23rd November 2009 / Matt - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting