Wednesday, November 25, 2009
WEDNESDAY ............. PORTO SET TO MAKE CHELSEA W(H)INE .......
Two nice winners yesterday, the only thing I got right in the Rubin game was the weather forecast ! Having said that, the game was fairly open and as always with such bets, the first goal is key.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
PORTO - CHELSEA
Both are already qualified for the knockout stage and only first place in the group is up for grabs. A win would seal the deal for the Blues, but a single point would ensure they remained in pole position, ahead of the final group match and that seems a far more likely result IMO.
Chelsea were very happy to settle for 0-0 in Madrid on Matchday 4, before an Aguero goal caused them to burst into life. With a long campaign ahead and some much bigger games on the immediate horizon, starting with a London derby visit to fellow title challengers Arsenal on Sunday, they seem certain to adopt a similar approach this evening. They will definitely not wish to pick up any further injuries, they are already without Bosingwa and Lampard tonight and seem unlikely to take a chance with Drogba, who will probably be warming up the bench.
Hosts come into this game refreshed, having not played for a couple of weeks and with the unusual bonus of having had most of the squad together during the mini break, which has enabled them to really put in some intensive work in training. This is a very experienced european club, looking to win a group stage for the third year running. They played well in the reverse fixture, losing to a single second half goal from Nicolas Anelka and creating more chances (16) than the home team. Actually, after four rounds no team in the CL have had more attempts on goal than Porto, who have totalled 76 an average of 19 per start. I accept that fellow group members Apoel and Atletico have hardly set the competition on fire, but those are still impressive numbers, especially alonside Chelsea's total of 49, which equates to 6.75 per game fewer than the Portugese champions.
I expect Chelsea to settle for a point and if there is to be a winner, feel it is more likely to come from Porto, who have lost just twice in 13 home starts in the CL over the last four seasons, getting a "point", at least, from meetings with Liverpool, Arsenal (twice) and Chelsea (back in 06-07) , they know the Blues well and what to expect this evening, in a game of few surprises. Draw, or narrow home win.
7 points Porto +1/4 ball 1.80 asian line.