It’s a big game for...
Radamel Falcao: With number one striker Diego Costa serving the last of his three-match suspension, it is a big opportunity for 29-year-old Falcao to prove himself to Jose Mourinho. The Columbian forward has only one goal since joining on loan from Monaco and with Costa set to return and Loic Remy waiting in the wings, Falcao may not get many more chances. If he can score against the Saints and halt Chelsea’s poor form, he will give his manager a selection problem going into the international break.
14: Chelsea conceded 14 goals in Jose Mourinho’s debut season in 2004-05 – The Blues are already one shy of matching that with only seven games played.
Porto 2 Chelsea 1 player ratings
Porto 2 Chelsea 1 player ratings
1/11 Asmir Begovic: 8 out of 10
Was Chelsea’s best player on the pitch. The goalkeeper made several reflex saves to deny the likes of Aboubakar and Brahimi throughout the game and, despite his one-handed stop to keep out Brahimi’s first-half effort, he could do nothing to stop Andre opening the scoring.
2/11 Branislav Ivanovic: 4 out of 10
After failing to clear an early Porto effort, the full-back – acting as captain in John Terry’s absence – allowed Brahimi to dribble past him all too easily seconds before the opener. Although he made a vital block to deny the Porto midfielder in the second half, Ivanovic should have equalised but headed Willian’s corner wide. Another under-par performance from the right-back.
3/11 Gary Cahill: 4 out of 10
Failed to shepherd his back line well enough during the set piece that Maicon made it 2-1 from, and should have done better to mark the Porto defender at the same time. Was often dragged out of position and didn’t show the leadership skills that were sorely needed to control the likes of Aboubakar.
4/11 Kurt Zouma: 5 out of 10
Failed to put in the strong and dominating displays he has shown in the past and looked uncomfortable as he and Cahill were too often run past by Aboubakar and Brahimi. Communication between the pair is appearing to be an issue.
5/11 Cesar Azpilicueta: 6 out of 10
Defended well early on and literally put his body on the line to keep out an early shot, but did not see Andre advancing for the opener. Was then shown a yellow card for pulling the Porto winger back and began to lose the battle to control him in the second half.
6/11 John Obi Mikel: 5 out of 10
Looked good in the early stages of the game, but failed to really control Brahimi in the middle of the park, which led to the Porto man running riot and being involved in the opening goal. Was replaced by Hazard in the second half.
7/11 Cesc Fabregas: 4 out of 10
Tested Casillas with a long-range shot in the sixth minute that proved to be one of Chelsea’s best chances early on, but the Spaniard failed to once again impress when needed to create attacks.
2015 Getty Images
8/11 Ramires: 6 out of 10
Was deployed on the right and his inclusion in the starting XI paid off when the Brazilian won the free-kick that Willian scored from. However, he was later out-muscled by Maicon, which allowed the Porto captain to seal the win. Was taken off in the 70th minute for Hazard.
9/11 Willian: 8 out of 10
Worked hard in midfield and, on more than one occasion, the Brazilian tracked back to help defend. He capped off a good display with a brilliant free-kick that restored parity for the visitors.
10/11 Pedro: 4 out of 10
Mourinho started the Spain international on the left after utilising him on the right following his summer move to the club and, aside from his powerful shot that Casillas saved in the 13th minute, Pedro disappointed. He failed to provide the service that Costa desperately needed and was taken off in the second half.
11/11 Diego Costa: 6 out of 10
Despite missing Chelsea’s last two games, the striker was lively and got past Maxi Pereira time and time again in the first period. He was unlucky not to have scored when his powerful curling shot hit the bar in the second half, but the main issue for Costa was that he was left isolated too often – which forced him to drop deep to find the ball. Should have been awarded a penalty when his shot ricocheted off Marcano’s arm in the area with minutes of the game left.
Southampton came from two goals down to earn a draw at Stamford Bridge? Saints manager Nigel Adkins was sacked only days later.
Player to watch…
Dusan Tadic: Southampton’s talisman has been in great from this season scoring three goals in his six Saints appearances. Extremely comfortable on the ball and an eye for the killer ball, Tadic could be a huge problem to Chelsea’s vulnerable back-line.
Out to stop him will be his compatriot Nemanja Matic. The giant central midfielder was named in last season’s PFA Team of the year but has started this season slowly. When Matic performs, Chelsea usually follow suit and they will need their man in the middle to put in a leaders’ performance to ease the pressure on Mourinho.
Chelsea 1 (Costa) Southampton 1 (Tadic), Premier League, March 2015.
Southampton 1 (Mane) Chelsea 1 (Hazard), Premier League, December 2014.
Southampton 0 Chelsea 3 (Torres, Willian, Oscar), Premier League, January 2014.
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