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Porto trip the perfect test for returning Mourinho and Chelsea

29 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Porto trip the perfect test for returning Mourinho and Chelsea

The Portuguese club are formidable at the Estadio do Dragao, but a purposeful performance could revitalise the struggling Blues

Threatening to “play the kids” if his established players continue to underwhelm revealed more about Jose Mourinho’s mistrust of youth than it did the current plight of the Chelsea first-team.

Their performances this season have been so limp and disorganised that Mourinho would have selected them already if he thought they of the requisite quality, especially after a summer transfer window that delivered him – Pedro aside, perhaps – no world-class players.

So for the Champions League visit to former club Porto, a weary-sounding Mourinho will persist with what he has: a talented squad that is ageing in key areas and in need of fresh impetus.

The trip to Estadio do Dragao – a stadium where the Portuguese has not won in the two visits since leaving the club – will either help arrest their problems or exacerbate them.

Naturally, much has been made of the reunion between Mourinho and Spanish legend Iker Casillas after the pair’s falling out at Real Madrid.

It is hard, though, to see how an off-field dispute between a goalkeeper and his ex-manager will have any significant impact on the match.

The threat of Porto on the pitch, however, demands attention.

Having recouped £500m in player sales since winning the Champions League under Mourinho in 2004, the club established a remarkable business model that enables them to generate revenue while also remaining competitive.

Their home record in Europe is formidable – they won five and drew one of their six Champions League games last season and are unbeaten in 10.

They have started their domestic season impressively, too, topping the Primeira Liga after four victories and two draws in their first six fixtures.

Three of those have come on their own turf and, having drawn 2-2 at Dynamo Kiev in their opening Group G fixture, Julen Lopetegui’s side are 5/4 to claim the three points on Tuesday.

In Vincent Aboubakar, meanwhile, Porto appear to have found a stellar replacement for Jackson Martinez, who joined Atletico Madrid in the summer.

The 23-year-old Cameroonian has scored six times already this season – including two against Kiev – and is 9/1 to net first in a Porto win.

But Chelsea’s recent record in Europe’s elite club competition is stellar and they have reasons to feel emboldened despite their domestic woes.

The Blues have won their last three matches against Porto, with the 1-0 triumph at the Estadio do Dragao in 2009 being the most recent.

That was only the second time the hosts have been beaten at home by an English club in the Champions League – after Manchester United – and the visitors are 23/10 to do so again.

Diego Costa is only suspended domestically and should be restored to the starting line-up, meaning Radamel Falcao is likely to be a substitute against the side for whom he established himself as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers.

And while Pedro may take time to adjust to the rigours of English football, the recent signing from Barcelona can flourish in a competition he has won three times.

The 28-year-old has scored twice for his new team already and is 12/1 to do so first in a win for his new side.

Chelsea’s aims of progressing are certainly not reliant on winning in Portugal, especially after their emphatic 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv two weeks ago.

But a performance befitting of champions is exactly what is required to lift the malaise at Stamford Bridge.

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