Two Chelsea players will be walking on a disciplinary tightrope in Wednesday evening’s Champions League first-leg clash with Porto.
While last season, the UEFA Executive Committee moved the cut-off date for yellow cards received by players and staff to after the completion of the round of 16 due to single-leg quarter-finals and semi-finals, the Champions League and Europa League now revert back to the previous rules.
It means now all the yellow cards will be carried forward to the quarter-finals again.
Chelsea duo Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech are one yellow card away from facing suspension for the second-leg game against Porto next week.
Fortunately, as all yellow cards expire on the completion of the quarter-finals, the pair will be available for the semifinals, if Chelsea progress to the next round, as long as they manage to avoid getting a yellow card this evening and, obviously, any red card over both legs.
On the other hand, Mason Mount and Jorginho who already served their suspension in the second-leg win over Atletico Madrid are pretty much safe despite each having accumulated three yellow cards in the competition.
This will also be the case for several other Chelsea players who are on one yellow card; Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, N’Golo Kante, and Christian Pulisic.
While Thomas Tuchel will have plenty of attacking options to replace Ziyech, should he miss the second leg, Kovacic’s absence would be a big miss.
As it stands, the Chelsea manager has three clear options for the centre-midfielder roles; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, and Kovacic, with Billy Gilmour being the fourth-choice.
Unfortunately, Kante’s recent injury record suggests that there is always a possibility that he will not be fully fit for the second leg.