Champions League Preview: Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid

 

Chelsea vs Atletico

Chelsea meet Atletico in the second leg Wednesday night

Chelsea’s focus has now surely shifted towards the Champions League with their Premier League title challenge somewhat going haywire and they would be going all out to kill the tie at home following a 0-0 result at Vicente Calderon. But it would not be as easy as it seems as Chelsea would be missing many of their key players through injury or suspension. Chelsea will definitely not field such a defensive side as they did at the Calderon but Atletico would be a tough nut to crack, Diego Simeone’s team has only let in 22 goals this season in the La Liga. And Chelsea would need a stroke of brilliance, which they have, to break down this Atletico side.

Team News:

Chelsea

Injury and suspensions bug the team ahead of their match at Stamford Bridge. First choice goalkeeper Petr Cech is out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder, Lampard and Mikel are suspended for the tie. Branislav Ivanovic who missed the first leg with suspension will return to the side. Meanwhile, captain John Terry is refusing to give up hope of making a remarkable comeback for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

After the first leg in the Vicente Calderon, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Terry’s only hope of playing again this season was if they reached the final in Lisbon on May 24. But Terry has made rapid progress from the ankle injury that forced him off during Tuesday’s game. Samuel Eto’o is still doubtful for the tie out with a knee injury. Chelsea could be bolstered by the return of Eden Hazard, but that is still an uncertainty.

Chelsea are likely to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

It’s going to be interesting to see what team Chelsea fields at the Bridge. If  Terry doesn’t make it, Ivanovic might have to partner Cahill at centre back, with David Luiz playing in defensive midfield alongside Ramires. With Eto’o still unavailable who will start upfront is a big question, will it be Torres or the goalscorer at Anfield, Ba?

Atletico Madrid:

Atletico have more or less a full strength team with just one absentee, captain Gabi, who is suspended for the tie. Arda Turan is likely to start in his stead.  Atletico will most likely go with a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Diego Costa leading the attack, with either Diego Ribas or David Villa behind him.

Key Players:

Chelsea:

Eden Hazard, if he plays he is going to be Chelsea’s main man. He had been in brilliant form prior to getting injured against PSG.

Andre Schurrle celebrates after scoring

Schurrle could be key for the Blues

Andre Schurrle, he has an explosive pace, can catch Atletico on the break when Chelsea go on counter.

Atletico Madrid:

Diego Costa smiling

Diego Costa holds the key

Diego Costa, one of the most coveted strikers in Europe at the moment and he is also in great form, scoring brilliant goals and that too in plenty

Koke, one of the most creative players in the squad, and his great passing skills will come to much use.

 

Current Form:

Chelsea: Chelsea will be pumped up and high on morale when they face the La Liga toppers, following a 2-0 victory away to Liverpool. A clean sheet at Anfield is definitely an achievement. And the Stamford Bridge still remains one of the most intimidating places to visit.

Atletico Madrid: They would be coming into the game following a 1-0 victory at the Mestalla against Valencia. It will be a point of concern as Costa missed a number of golden opportunities upfront.

Prediction:

Both teams have a really strong defense. With Chelsea completely concentrating on the Champions League, Jose Mourinho’s men will be hard to break down. And it’s never easy at the Bridge. Even though it will be a battle of equals it will always be a slight advantage to Chelsea. The match could go either way though.

1-0 Chelsea win.



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