Tags Posts tagged with "Champions League"

Champions League

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Chelsea face Porto tonight at Stamford Bridge ( KO 19.45 GMT) in a game they must win if they wish to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League.

Predicted Line-ups:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1):

Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Diego Costa.

Porto (4-3-3):

Casillas; Maxi, Maicon, Marcano, Martins Indi; Danilo, Ruben Neves, Imbula; Brahimi, Aboubakar, Andre

 

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has stated that, in his opinion, the Blues are above playing in the Europa League because this tournament is a different level of competition for a different level of players and a different level of clubs.

The Portuguese coach has no doubt that the Europa League is very different from the Champions League when it comes to the level of competition and the level of players, which is why Chelsea should not enjoy the fact that if they fall off tonight with the Champions League they still a chance to play in this tournament.

Mourinho said:

“When I returned, I felt the experience of Chelsea playing Europa League was not good.”

“The Europa League is a different competition (to the Champions League), the Europa League is a different level of competition for a different level of player and a different level of club. It is not good for a big club to go there and win it.”

“I know that, in this moment, it looks to win the Europa League might be an easier way to be in the Champions League next season, than to finish in the top four. But there is another possibility, which is to win the Champions League.”

“It’s harder than winning the Europa League, yes, but this is the competition we’re in. I was always against the teams being knocked out of the Champions League going into the Europa League because there’s such a big difference in the level of competition between the teams in both. It’s not fair on those who have been in the Europa League.”

“If you are knocked out of the Champions League, you should go home and focus on domestic competitions. But, because the rules say the third has the chance to go to the Europa League, it’s a good way for those who are knocked out of the Champions League to win the competition and get back into the Champions League next season.”

“But we don’t want that. We want to play Champions League, play the best teams – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern, all the big teams. And, for that, we need to win.”

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ZOUMA
Kurt Zouma © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea centre back Kurt Zouma has urged his team to think only about a victory and qualification for the next stage of the Champions League from the first place ahead of tonight’s decisive match against Porto.

Zouma told Chelsea’s official website:

”It’s the best competition in the world and playing in the Champions League gives you the chance to play against the very best teams,”

”Because you are playing against teams from other countries there are differences to playing in the Premier League, which I think is the best championship in the world. In European fixtures there are not the same kind of systems on the pitch, and not the same type of games. You have to think differently, you have to adapt and you have to travel much further, too.”

”I’m at a big club and I’m here to learn so I am very happy to have played some Champions League games and to have been given the chance to see how different teams in other countries play football.”

”We have a big game today and we have to win because we want to qualify in first place,”

”We are very determined. We are at home. We lost our last game there on Saturday so it’s a good thing that we play today because we can forget the other game and move forward. We have to be very concentrated in our game and play like we were a couple of weeks ago.”

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Former Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge has warned everybody not to underestimate Jose Mourinho because the Portuguese coach is capable to win this season Champions League and shut the mouths of all his critics.

Bridge told the London Evening Standard:

”You wouldn’t say it on current form but it would be a great story for a team that doesn’t do too well in the Premier League.”

”To go and win the Champions League – it’s something he [Mourinho] is capable of – but it’s a very big ask at the moment.”

”But with Mourinho being there you can never underestimate what he can produce,”

“I think they will progress. He [Mourinho] can always produce when he needs to and I keep saying it week in, week out – it’s going to change for them at some point.”

“It’s a big game when they need to produce and he’ll make sure that all the players are ready to go out there and win the game.”

”I think it’s something that will – I wouldn’t say rescue their season – but it will definitely help as they’re struggling so much in the Premier League.”

 

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has stressed that in his opinion it would be a huge embarrassment for Chelsea if they would lost tonight against FC Porto and drop into the Europa League.

Today’s match at Stamford Bridge is really a struggle for survival. The team that wins today, you can be sure of reaching the next round of the Champions League. While the defeated will be playing in the Europa League, and Chelsea’s goalkeeper makes no secret that this is not the pinnacle of his ambition for this season.

Courtois said:

”Yes, of course. We’re a team to go in the Champions League and go as far as we can.”

”But we’re confident we’ll get the win and get through. A team like Chelsea has to have the goal to win the Champions League so, obviously, we don’t want to be in the Europa League.”

“I don’t want to win the Europa League,”

“It would be a big disappointment for me. I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition.”

“When I returned, I felt the experience of Chelsea playing Europa League was not good.”

“The Europa League is a different level of competition for a different level of player and a different level of club.”

The Belgium international has also ensured that just one goal will be enough for Hazard to unlock himself and found his form:

“This season, a lot of players that last season were top and playing really well, have struggled a bit more to be decisive.”

“Eden is important for us. He makes good actions. He doesn’t score at the moment, but he scored four for Belgium in the last few months.”

“That moment will come. If he scores one, he’ll score a lot more.”

 

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jose mourinho

Jose Mourinho spoke to Chelsea TV before Porto’s clash.

The Chelsea manager thinks this game will be like a knock-out and doesn’t want his players to relax thinking that a draw can still qualify them:

“Maybe if I say this people don’t believe me but the atmosphere and desire to work together of the players and the staff have been always brilliant in these months, I think in the end is our strength because we got so many bad results and we always found strength to carry on and work, to search for next good result, I think the group is phenomenal.

“No one wants to hide, nobody wants to go, everybody wants to play and try ( to give their contribution).

“It’s a contradiction when you look to the instability of the results and you look to the stability of the group and the work, it’s a huge contradiction.

“Porto have to win, this is like a knock-out and we play to win: I think is dangerous ( to approach the game) with a mentality that one draw is enough for us, so we have to go in that direction, with the responsibility we know that is a knock-out but Porto is a good team and they are playing well and for sure, a big support, traditionally Portuguese teams bring big support with them, so they feel quite comfortable, quite supported so it’s very difficult match, but I want to think that is more difficult for them.

“What do we need from our fans tonight? I cannot say one negative word about Chelsea fans, exactly the opposite, they are giving us a lot considering the bad results we are having. I can’t ask for more, I can’t just ask…I can only say that in case the support is not massive, at least don’t put more pressure on the players because they [already] have enough pressure with the results we’re getting”.

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Let’s analyse the situation in GROUP G, the one of Chelsea, to understand how the three teams ( Chelsea, Porto and Dynamo Kiev)  that can still get a pass for Last 16 can qualify.

The current table is:

Chelsea 10

Porto 10

Dynamo Kiev 8

Maccabi Tel Aviv 0

 

  • The three top teams are sure to stay in the European competitions, but they don’t know which one ( we remind the third classified of each group go to Europa League Last 32)

 

  • The winner of Chelsea v Porto wins the group. Porto beat Chelsea 2-1 on matchday two so will top the group with a draw should Dynamo not win.

 

  • Chelsea will be through in second place with a draw.
  • Dynamo will be through with a win; if the other game is drawn, the three teams will be split on goal difference in matches between the three teams, meaning Dynamo would finish first, Chelsea second and Porto third.
  • Maccabi are out of Europe.

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Porto defender Danilo Pereira spoke before the game with Chelsea and claimed that the Portuguese side players are confident on getting a win tonight: a win for them would mean probably the Blues out of the Champions League, since they would have to rely on Maccabi Tel Aviv beating Dynamo Kiev to get a pass for Last 16 stage. Porto, however, is in the same situation, even though Chelsea can still qualify with a draw in case Dynamo will draw with Maccabi:

The players believe we can get a win here,” said Pereira.

We have confidence. It’s difficult because Porto have never won in England, but hopefully we will achieve it.

“This will be a very different match to that at the Dragao. It’s a decisive game for them and us.

“We’ll not change our game. We have our own football philosophy. But we also know how to defend and we are well prepared for what awaits us.”

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Porto manager Julen Lopetegui is convinced that Chelsea’s struggles in the Premier League will not have any impact on their attitude during tomorrow’s match at Stamford Bridge.

The Portuguese team won 2-1 over Chelsea last time when both of the teams met at Estadio do Dragao in September but Porto’s manager is confident that in tomorrow’s game Chelsea will show their character. He insists also that domestic failures won’t affect on Chelsea’s performances in the Champions League.

Lopetegui said:

“They are two very different competitions,”

”Chelsea have one of the best managers in history as well as top players, so we’re not expecting this to be easy at all.”

“It’s strange to arrive at the end of a group with Chelsea not qualified, but it’s a magnificent opportunity to play in a great stadium, and they know we have to win to progress.”

“We would like to make history as Porto have never won in England before. We have to be perfect to do that.”

“The players believe they can win here,”

“They believe in the manager and have confidence. It’s difficult because Porto have never won here but it’s a step we need to take.”

“I think it’s going to be a very different match [to the first meeting in September]. Chelsea will be at their best. It’s a final game, a decisive game for them and us.”

 

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Ahead of Chelsea’s game against Porto at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night (19:45 GMT KO), we take a look at the odds on offer.

All odds provided by SkyBET (SB), Ladbrokes (L) and Coral (C), correct as of 8th December. 

 

Chelsea win: SB – 1/1, L – 19/20, C – 19/20

Draw: SB – 9/4, L –5/2, C – 12/5

Porto win: SB – 14/5, L – 16/5,  C – 16/5

 

First goalscorer:

Eden Hazard: SB – 11/2, L – 5/1, C – 11/2

Oscar: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1, C – 7/1

Diego Costa: SB – 9/2, L – 9/2, C – 9/2

Pedro: SB – 6/1, L – 7/1, C – 6/1

Willian: SB – 15/2, L – 15/2, C – 15/2

No goalscorer: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1, C – 13/2

Vincent Aboubakar: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1,  C – 7/1

Jesus Corona: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1, C – 7/1

Pablo Osvaldo: SB – 8/1, L – 8/1,  C – 8/1

Yacine Brahimi: SB – 9/1, L – 9/1, C – 9/1

Andre: SB – 14/1, L – 14/1, C – 14/1

 

Final Score:

Chelsea win:

1-0: SB – 5/1, L – 5/1,  C – 5/1

2-0: SB – 15/2, L – 15/2, C – 15/2

2-1: SB – 8/1, L – 8/1, C– 8/1

3-0: SB – 16/1, L – 14/1, C – 16/1

3-1: SB – 18/1, L – 16/1, C– 16/1

Draw:

0-0: SB – 7/1, L – 8/1, C – 15/2

1-1: SB – 9/2, L – 11/2, C – 11/2

2-2: SB – 16/1, L – 16/1, C – 18/1

3-3: SB – 80/1, L – 80/1, C – 80/1

4-4: SB – 250/1, L – 350/1, C – 200/1

Porto win:

1-0: SB – 8/1, L – 17/2, C – 17/2

2-0: SB – 18/1, L – 18/1, C – 18/1

2-1: SB – 12/1, L – 12/1, C – 12/1

3-0: SB – 50/1, L – 50/1, C – 50/1

3-1: SB – 40/1, L – 40/1, C– 40/1

 

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