Chelsea vs FC Porto Team News (UCL): Kante, Oliveira, Taremi

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Chelsea FC have certainly responded well to their 5-2 shock defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion 9 days ago. Last midweek they handled FC Porto 2-0 in the road leg of their UCL quarterfinal tie, and in the process displayed true Champions League title contender bonafides.

Then they throttled Crystal Palace 4-1 in the league at the weekend. They’ve got Christian Pulisic firing on all cylinders again as they head into the second leg of their tie with Porto.

n'golo kante

Chelsea vs FC Porto UCL Quarterfinal Leg 2/2 FYIs

Aggregate: Chelsea leads 2-0

Kickoff: Tue April 14, 8pm, Stamford Bridge

Chelsea Starting XI Prediction: go here

Head to Head: Chelsea win 6    Draw 2    FC Porto Win 1

Odds: Chelsea win -120    Draw +270    FC Porto Win +320

Fast Fact: Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 9 Champions League matches

Team News for Both Sides 

Chelsea have only one team news item for this match, and it’s not about the player’s fitness and availability, it’s actually about what kind of role he’ll play. Midfield maestro N’Golo Kante hurt his hamstring while on international duty with France, but he’s already returned to action.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has said the midfielder will need to be managed in this one.

“I was unbelievably happy when he [Kante] told me he would travel with us last week to Sevilla, because I didn’t expect it,” said Tuchel.

“The plan was that he arrives in the game against Crystal Palace, but he arrived before that which was amazing. He was confident enough to go on the pitch and he was strong enough to help us in the last 10 or 15 minutes with all his quality and intensity.”

Kante, who is in the squad for tomorrow night, came back a little earlier than expected, and there were some consequences for this.

“The downside of this decision and this wonderful situation was that he lost a bit of sleep after the travel issues back from Sevilla,” Tuchel added.

“He lost some workload in training because he was on the bench and playing only a few minutes. The next day he suffered from travelling, he could not train like he normally would train so that was the downside and we decided again to bring him from the bench against Crystal Palace.

“This is now a decision I will take tomorrow morning when I see him today in training and then when we reflect on the others for the team in central midfield.”

Turning to Porto, round of 16 hero Mehdi Taremi and gaolscoring midfielder Sergio Oliveira are now back available for selection having had to miss the first-leg due to suspension. Sergio Conceicao’s side have no fresh injury concerns,  but Diogo Costa, Ivan Marcano and Mouhamed Mbaye remain out of commission.

fc porto

Prediction: Chelsea 2, Porto 1 (Chelsea advances 4-1 on aggregate)

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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