It’s a scenario that very few Chelsea supporters will want to contemplate: a penalty shootout to win the Champions League tomorrow night in Porto.
The Blues have gone through the anguish of spot-kicks in their previous two finals. In rain-soaked Moscow in 2008, the width of the post denied Chelsea the trophy, which would later that night be lifted by Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Four years later in Munich, after Robbie Di Matteo’s depleted side had managed to hold Bayern to a 1-1 draw on their own patch, penalties again decided the destiny of the trophy. On that occasion, Petr Cech stepped up to deny Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Didier Drogba then converted the winning spot-kick.
Chelsea supporters will hope this time is different, that their side can defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in 90 minutes. That they’ve done so twice in the last six weeks is reason for encouragement, even though the Premier League champions are favourites.
Yet if after extra time the two teams can’t be separated in Porto, then once again Chelsea’s dream of lifting the European Cup will be decided by the lottery of a penalty shootout.
City’s record from the spot over the last two years is very much against them in that situation. Guardiola’s side have been awarded 27 penalties in all competitions since the start of the 2019/20 campaign and they’ve missed ten of those. It is a success rate of just 62%.
By contrast, Chelsea have been handed 29 opportunities from the spot this term and last. Only five have been missed, a success rate of 83%.
It’s clear the Blues have players confident and comfortable from 12 yards. They can handle the spotlight, the unique pressure. So if tomorrow night’s game in Porto is decided by penalties, who should be the five that step up for the Blues given their previous records?
There’s no room for debate here. The Italian has been Chelsea’s first-choice penalty taker over the past two years following the departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
During his three seasons at Stamford Bridge, Jorginho has taken 22 penalties (including shootouts) for the Blues and has only missed four of those. His success rate is an impressive 82%. His hopping technique has often confused goalkeepers but he has, on occasion, thrown that out of the window and taken a more conventional spot-kick.
If tomorrow’s final does need to be decided from 12 yards, it’s almost certain that Jorginho, if he’s still on the pitch, will be the first Chelsea player to step up.
The academy graduate has only taken one penalty outside of shootouts – that was against Southampton back in February and Mount converted with ease.
That wouldn’t be a strong enough record for Mount to convince Thomas Tuchel he’s ready to take a spot-kick in Porto. Fortunately, the England international has more evidence.
Since being incorporated into the Chelsea first-team squad by Frank Lampard in 2019/20, Mount has stepped up twice in shootouts for Chelsea, finding the back on the net in the Super Cup defeat to Liverpool but missing against Tottenham earlier this term.
But when on loan at Derby County, the 22-year-old converted in the two shoot-outs he took part in. His success rate of 80% is still strong.
The 21-year-old will be hoping to start the game out in Porto given his performance in the second leg of the semi-final victory against Real Madrid. However, it’s likely Havertz will be introduced from the substitutes’ bench in the second period and sees out the game.
That would make him a prime candidate to take one of the spot-kicks. During his senior club career, Havertz has taken seven penalties – all for Bayer Leverkusen – and has scored every single one.
He also stepped up for his boyhood club in a DFB-Pokal shootout against Sportfreunde Lotte during the 2016/17 campaign. Again Havertz found the net.
The Spaniard will captain Chelsea in tomorrow’s final and will be hoping to lift the trophy come the conclusion of the contest.
If that arrives after a shootout, it’s likely Azpilicueta will have made the long walk and taken a penalty for his side. He’s got a good record too.
The 31-year-old has previously taken five penalties in shootouts for Chelsea and has yet to miss. It’s an impressive achievement from the Spaniard.
The Champions League final will almost certainly be Giroud’s last game for Chelsea. The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of next month and, as things stand, the Blues do not plan on extending that.
It’s almost certain that the 34-year-old will begin the game on the bench. And he may only be introduced if Chelsea need a goal…or if the match goes to a shootout.
Giroud has only taken one penalty for Chelsea, which he scored against Sevilla earlier in the Champions League campaign. And during his club career (excluding shootouts) he has stepped up from 12 yards on 17 occasions and has only missed once.
Source by Football London