Jose Mourinho called the battle against Porto at the Estadio do Dragao Chelsea’s toughest group-phase game before kick-off, and so it proved.
A 2-1 defeat to the Special One’s former club was alarming in its ease for the hosts, but ultimately didn’t change the complexion of Champions League Group G too much in Ladbrokes’ eyes.
The Blues remain odds-on favourites to win their mini league, at 4/5 with the bookmaker, with a double-header against Sergei Rebrov’s Dynamo Kiev in the next two gameweeks the perfect platform to steer their European campaign back on course.
Although the Ukrainian outfit remain unbeaten through their first two outings – having drawn at home to the Portuguese and bettering Maccabi Tel Aviv away – they have failed to progress out of the group stage in their last 12 Champions League appearances.
They only have two wins at home in their last 11 outings in the competition and have lost all of their last six trips to face English opposition.
It’s reasonable then, for Mourinho to expect a maximum return from consecutive tussles with Rebrov’s side, which will all-but confirm the Blues’ qualification in to the knockout stage.
Winning the group, however, remains a must for the club considering their current fragility and the prospect of drawing some heavy-hitting opponents in the round of 16 should they finish second.
Their success in the mission is likely to hinge on the return fixture with Porto at Stamford Bridge and there is good news for the west Londoners on that front.
Chelsea have won each of their last three home games against Porto in the Champions League, most recently in a 1-0 victory in 2009 where Nicolas Anelka bagged the winner.
The Dragons are also currently winless in three away days in the competition, losing 6-1 to Bayern Munich with their last trip in the 2014/15 edition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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