Wednesday’s Champion’s League win for English Premier League title defenders Chelsea was a bright spot in what has been a dark year. The Blues suffered their eighth loss in the EPL on Saturday, but Mourinho’s men were up to their old ways in UCL play against FC Porto: smart in their attack, and strong in their defense. Porto dominated possession, but the Portuguese side struggled to get anywhere near the goal. A defensive error by the Dragons in the 12th minute and Willian’s goal in the 52nd minute carried Chelsea into the Round of 16.
Man of the Match: Willian
Brazilian Willian created four chances for the home team, the most by any player on the field. Responsible for creating nearly half of Chelsea’s total Expected Goal Value, the midfielder had 14 successful passes to the final third and converted the team’s second goal in the 52nd minute.
Chelsea had a boost early in the game when Diego Costa, returning to action after two matches on the bench, saw his effort saved by Iker Casillas only to rebound off of Porto defender Ivan Marcano for an own-goal in the 12th minute. Casillas was forced to make a total of five saves, as Chelsea made the most of its lowly 38% possession in Porto’s defensive quarter.
The Blues only managed 11 shots, yet they earned a B on offense as those opportunities were generally good ones. Though most of Chelsea’s attempts came from the right side of the box, it was up the left flank that they focused their attack. Porto’s defensive right is colored red signifying the attacks through that channel had a total EGV greater than 1.
Quite opposite from the Porto defense, the London team’s backline was difficult to penetrate. Chelsea made nine outfielder blocks, equaling the highest by any team this season in the competition. The deep green across all four defensive channels demonstrates Chelsea’s overall dominance; Porto did not manage an EGV above .25 on attacks through any channel. The defense forced Porto to attempt an overwhelming majority of its shots from outside the area. In fact, Porto made only four of its 16 attempts from within the area, none of them a match for goalkeeper Courtois and very few of high quality (note the many smaller circles). Porto exited the competition, while Chelsea advanced top of Group G.
Originally published on Univision Deportes at: http://www.univision.com/deportes/futbol/el-chelsea-regreso-por-sus-fueros