For fans of Portuguese football, the drawing of Chelsea for local powerhouse FC Porto will feel like a negative move. However, many would have said after the drawing of Juventus, too; and it was through that tie which Porto proved their quality and mettle. The draw is another chance for Sergio Conceição to have a crack at a top club, having taken a few scalps as Porto coach in his time as club manager.
Despite many claims that the UEFA Champions League fails to throw up imaginative ties, this is a relatively rare tie to see in football. With so many players having played for both clubs, and the obvious links combining the likes of Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas, there is an interesting link between the Blues and the Dragões.
The last-eight, then, will see Chelsea play a side they have only played eight times in history. However, the Blues will be happy to know they boast a 5-2 record in terms of wins/losses when playing the Portuguese giants. Their first game against each other arrived in 2004, when Mourinho strode back into Portugal to take on the team he won a UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League with.
Their first games against each other seen a 3-1 win for Chelsea in England, whilst Porto won 2-1 in Portugal. In fact, the scores have never been more than 3-1 in these games. Out of all of the eight games played, only two have been decided with a margin of more than one goal.
The most recent meeting among both clubs arrived in 2015, when they played in the Group Stages of the Champions League. In those ties, Porto won 2-1 in Portugal while Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Who will win this quarter-final tie?
At the moment, you would have to say Chelsea are the right choice. Under Thomas Tuchel, they have made conceding goals a thing of the past – a real slight on the porous coaching under previous manager Frank Lampard. At the same time, they have made a habit of scoring efficient, quality goals that force their best attackers to move the ball with pace.
For that reason, this quarter-final tie is sure to be one that is decided by how long Chelsea can keep that solidity up. Porto scored against Juventus thanks to defensive mishaps from the Turin giants; Chelsea have, under Tuchel at least, made the concession of such slapstick goals a thing of the past.
This is not a vintage Porto team; instead of creative talents like Deco or powerhouses like Hulk, this team boasts aggression, hard work, and commitment to playing as a unit. While some old faces will be present, such as central defensive legend Pepe, expect the Blues to find the power they need to overcome the Portuguese powerhouse.
And with a tie with either Real Madrid or Liverpool waiting for the victor, that should be enough to help keep minds and ambitions focused.