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Porto v Chelsea - Match Preview
Published : 25 Nov 2009 15:03:54Rss feed
Chelsea can secure top-spot in Champions League Group D tonight with a win over Porto in the Estadio do Dragao tonight.
Currently leading the group ahead of Porto after three wins and a draw from their opening four games, the Blues have already qualified for the knock-out stage but they will be well aware that defeat tonight would give their opponents pole position.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti looks set to rotate his starting eleven in anticipation of Sunday's visit to title rivals Arsenal.
Micahel Essien, who bagged a brace at home to Wolves on Saturday will be rested but should still make the bench alongside the returning Didier Drogba, who missed the weekend game with a rib injury.
Deco, Michael Ballack and Ricardo Carvalho also missed the visit of Wolves but all three should be fit enough to regain their places in Ancelotti's side this evening.
Saloman Kalou and Nicolas Anelka look certain to continue up-front while Russian ace Yuri Zhirkov could start at left-back after regaining full-fitness.
Frank Lampard remains sidelined with a thigh-injury while Jose Bosingwa is also out.
Ancelotti said: 'Porto have a very good team and coach but while we respect them we have no fear.
'They did well in the last game at Stamford Bridge. We want to put our personality and quality on the pitch on Wednesday.
'We want to arrive at first place in the group and it is a very good test because Porto are a very good team.'
The hosts are guaranteed to finish at least second in the group but a win would push them above Chelsea into top-spot in the group entering into the final round of fixtures.
Porto could recall Brazilian goalkeeper Helton who has been out injured for two weeks with a foot injury, but manager Jusualdo Ferreira was determined to keep his team selection quiet.
He said: 'We have 22 players who can play and they will be chosen from the criteria Porto always follows, which is the quality of the player.'
In-form front-man Ernesto Farias looks set to partner either Hulk or Falcao in attack having scored five goals in his last six games.
Argentine playmaker Fernando Belluschi, who has not played for a month, is expected to return to the three-man midfield alongside Fernando and Raul Meireles as the Portuguese giants look to overhaul last year's semi-finalists at the top of group D.
- Joe Strange