UEFA Champions League preview: Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid – Stamford Bridge – December 5 – Group C Clash
Chelsea fans will be expecting their club to do an encore at the Stamford Bridge when they host Atletico Madrid in the return leg of a Group C tie of the Champions League. Antonio Conte’s men had achieved the insurmountable when they beat a very difficult Los Colchoneros 1-2 in their own patch in Madrid. The hosts were albeit a bit handicapped, playing away from the familiar surroundings of Vicente Calderon Stadium. Atletico’s new home, Wanda Metropolitano, has seen them not just go down to Chelsea, but also held to a humiliating 1-1 draw by minions, Qarabag. A revival of sorts in the Championship at the venue ensued when Diego Simeone’s men recorded their first win against Roma, 2-0, last week. This morale-boosting victory is expected to set the tone for their forthcoming outing on English soil. To top that is a thumping 0-5 away win over Levante in a La Liga encounter last weekend.
Main strikers Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro both of who are having off-seasons with just 6 and 4 goals apiece seem to have hit form at the right time getting braces in the Levante game.
Chelsea have had an excellent European outing by contrast, progressing into the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. They have had a run of 4 victorious games on the trot in the English Premier League only to be dampened to some extent by a 1-1 draw to Liverpool. Key striker Alvaro Morata along with the likes of Eden Hazard and Marco Alonso have been into goals of late. Leicester City-import , Danny Drinkwater, has been combining well with Cesc Fabregas and his ex-club mate, Ngolo Kante in the midfield. Right-back Davide Zappacosta has shown great initiative in moving down the wings and attack and this with Morata, Hazard & co. upfront could test the Atletico defence which does not look as formidable as it was before.
Simone will adopt the 4-3-3 formation with Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic, Diego Godin and Filipe Luís forming the back four. The dependable right-back veteran, Juanfran, still looks a bit doubtful for the Chelsea clash thanks a hamstring injury.
For the visitors to Stamford Bridge, a win will be of utmost importance. In the light of their present position at 3rd in the cluster of four, even a draw could jeopardize their chances of moving into the knock-out phase as they are still two points behind 2nd placed Roma and three behind Chelsea. Roma’s easy outing against Qarabag will seriously put Atletico’s chances of survival in the Championship at peril.
Despite Atletico’s smart revival in recent games, bookmakers are not expecting them to emerge winners from the Stamford Bridge clash of December 5th as the odds below suggest.
Chelsea win: 11/10
Atletico Madrid: 9/4
Recommended Tip: Atletico to WIN, Best odds 27/10 @ 888Sport
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