Chelsea’s performance against Atletico Madrid back in September was heralded as one of the finest displays by an English club in the Champions League of all time, when they came back to win 2-1 in the Spanish capital. It was believed that both teams would be fighting to top the group, little did we know back then – how it would all turn out.
Conte’s men have already secured qualification to the last 16, but winning the group is far from assured. With Roma expected to dispatch Qarabag off with relative ease, it will be interesting to see how Atletico approach the game at Stamford Bridge given they have an outside chance of qualifying – should the unthinkable happen in Rome. We need to start the game hard and fast, to ensure we don’t get an unfavourable draw in the next phase.
Given the success of English clubs in the Champions League this season means that failure to top the group will potentially see us paired up with PSG or Barcelona – as we are unable to face Premier League opposition in the next round of the draw. Only Porto or Besiktas would provide an alternative, if we don’t ensure we bring in 3pts tomorrow night. I know if you want to win the tournament you have to beat the best, but I would prefer not to face them so soon in the competition. With the title seemingly already out of reach this season, Conte must be looking at winning the Champions League as the big priority this campaign.
We need to approach this game in the same way we did against Manchester United and play from the front foot from the very start. With Willian and Hazard playing in behind Morata, allowing Alonso and Moses to provide the width I truly believe that we will have enough energy and agility to upset Atletico Madrid. It will be interesting to see how Diego Simeone sets his team out formation wise – as really he has to win the game if they have any hope of qualifying.
The Chelsea v Atletico betting odds have the Blues at evens. To be honest I think, given Atletico’s predicament, it plays into our hands nicely as there is no one better than Chelsea in the country (other than perhaps Liverpool) that is better on the counter attack than us. If we can get that early goal then we can just sit back and pick them off at will. I for one is predicting a comfortable victory, as I just think everything here falls in our favour tomorrow night. Topping the group is the most important thing – something a win will guarantee.