A very historic home game awaits the Blues tonight in Spain. Club historian Rick Glanville and club statistician Paul Dutton look not only at that significance but also at the task very much at hand.
This is the decisive game of Chelsea’s 10th Champions League quarter-final tie, with Porto the nominal away side in Seville. The Blues, who progressed this far in the competition without a loss for the first time – a club record – are the only remaining team yet to concede in the knockout stage.
This tie feels far from over, especially as some of the Dragons’ claws may return in the form of players back from suspension, and the away goals rule could benefit the Primeira Liga’s last remaining ambassadors.
Yet statistics are stacked against Sergio Conceicao’s team, who have never successfully overturned a first-leg deficit of more than one goal in 15 previous attempts.
One Chelsea goal scored would mean Porto, who lost 2-0 in the first leg (their fourth first-leg home European knockout defeat by more than the minimum), will need to score three. A neutral stadium deprived of feverish supporters may not appear conducive to a night of such heroics.
Will N’Golo Kante feature today?
Porto may be grateful tonight’s venue is not Stamford Bridge, where they have only ever tasted defeat. But it is an away ground for both, and Chelsea’s record on the road is the best in the competition: played five, won five, with a goal difference of +12. Porto’s, they will not need reminding, is the worst: played four, won two, lost two, goal difference +1.
This quick return to Andalusia’s capital city brings the genuine novelty of a ‘home from home’ tie, and both clubs can draw on fond memories for inspiration. Chelsea have a 100 per cent record from two visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan: 4-0 against Sevilla and 2-0 last Wednesday. The Portuguese can look back to winning the UEFA Cup there in 2003 under Jose Mourinho.
This is Chelsea’s 2,558th competitive home game – and the first in our 116-year history not to be played at Stamford Bridge.