Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham wait against Porto again as Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel explores his attack options before finalizing transfer plans for the summer.
Between now and the end of the season, he confirmed last week, Thomas Tuchel will assess his frontmen and then finalize his summer plans for his attack.
Penny for the thoughts of Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham then.
In the two games that followed Tuchel’s statement, all three of his recognized strikers started on the bench.
This was only the second time that Timo Werner was excluded from consecutive games all season
Thomas Tuchel will assess his frontmen and then finalize his summer plans for his attack
Kai Havertz (right), Mason Mount (center) and Christian Pulisic thrived against Crystal Palace
Instead, Tuchel opted for a front three from Kai Havertz, flanked by Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic.
While Chelsea already had control of this draw against Porto after winning the first leg 2-0, Tuchel was chosen as his chosen ones to get them over the line in Seville.
His team still had a professional role to play in an important competition to confirm their place in a first semifinal of the Champions League since 2014.
It was certainly remarkable to Werner. This was only the second time he had been kept out of consecutive games all season.
Olivier Giroud came in against Porto on Tuesday evening as a substitute in injury time
Werner, Abraham and Giroud, who took a group stage of four goals in this area in December, have had their chances under Tuchel.
The latter two, in particular, have reasonable grounds for not arguing enough of them.
Likewise, it was difficult to challenge Tuchel’s decision to maintain confidence in the three who performed well in Chelsea’s best offensive demonstration under their new manager at Crystal Palace on Saturday, a 4-1 victory.
“The front three did very well, but it’s already in the past,” said Tuchel. “The challenge is to reappear.”
Porto started with the intensity the situation required from their perspective.
Tammy Abraham has good reason to say he hasn’t been given enough time
Meanwhile, Tuchel’s trio saw far less of the ball in dangerous territory than they enjoyed in Selhurst Park.
Pulisic spent much of the game picking himself up from the turf, sending the American tumbling repeatedly as a result of Porto’s physical approach.
At one point, Havertz was in his own six-yard box and headed a corner away.
But whenever they had or needed the opportunity to attack, they showed their worth.
Although the priority was to manage the game, Mount, Havertz and Pulisic were always ready to fall forward and help Chelsea take the field.
Mount, Havertz and Pulisic (L) were always ready to fall forward against Porto on Tuesday
At least one of them played a part in the Blues’ most dangerous moments during the intermission each time.
All three can move with the ball, often at speed, and with a level of control that makes defenders nervous. They also combine well.
That kept Chelsea an offensive threat, while N’Golo Kante and their defensive colleagues kept Porto sufficiently at bay. Mehdi Taremi’s winner for the bicycle kick was great but long overdue.
And while Werner and Abraham had to wait for their next chances, Giroud was only called up in injury time.