Tuesday 5th December. 7:45PM. BT Sport
Tuesday night sees two Champions League heavyweights collide at Stamford Bridge and with the two sides facing contrasting fortunes in this year’s competition, the stage is set for a fascinating battle.
Managers Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone will be determined to see their respective sides step up on what is a big match regardless of the factors surrounding it. Prepare yourselves for a cracker.
Conte’s Men To Make A Statement
Despite the humbling in Rome, this has been a productive group campaign for the Blues, who are already through to the last 16. However, assuming Roma beat Qarabag, the Premier League side will need a positive result against Atletico as they bid to top the group.
Moreover, a big performance here would send a signal of intent to their future Champions League opponents. The Blues have been questioned at times this season, largely thanks to Manchester City’s domestic dominance, but a return of eight wins in 10 games should not be ignored.
Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas have all looked great going forward while Andreas Christensen is rapidly growing into a key player at the back. The hosts should see this as a great opportunity to get one over Atletico, particularly after the Diego Costa saga, and will be eager to secure a supposed easier tie in the round of 16.
The hosts certainly have the quality and momentum, but it still won’t be easy against a wounded animal.
Only A Win Will Do For Atletico
Despite reaching two finals, a semi-final, and a quarter-final in the last four years, Simeone’s men are set to be the biggest casualty of the 2017-18 group phase. Even a win in London is unlikely to save them as Roma should get a positive result against Qarabag. Nonetheless, the visitors will need to keep the faith.
It hasn’t been an easy time for the Rojiblancos since departing the Calderon, but they are unbeaten in 13 games since that costly late loss against Chelsea at the Wanda Metropolitano. A 0-0 draw with Real Madrid is the only blemish in their last six matches while they’ve only conceded once in that improved run too. Still, against Chelsea, they will need to seek a win.
Star man Antoine Griezmann hasn’t been at his sensational best this term while there is a strong feeling that the team of Gabi, Juanfran, and co. are coming to the end of their cycle. Nonetheless, this Atletico team is still a strong outfit and will fight with hopes of achieving a minor miracle to progress.
As far as their part of the equation is concerned, two big wins on the spin at Stamford Bridge should inspire confidence. In spite of their disappointing group campaign, they are more than capable of a result on the night. Even if they do, the Europa League looks likely.
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid Betting
Chelsea are the favourites for this one as far as the bookies are concerned and can be backed at 21/20 with Ladbrokes. The visitors are underdogs at 13/5 while the draw is 23/10.
Atletico will enter this clash with high hopes, but the result from Italy will filter through. If Roma establish a lead as expected, it could knock the wind out of Atletico’s sails, even if they try to stop it from happening.
Under normal circumstances, it’d be hard to back the Rojiblancos losing by two or more. On this occasion, we think that’s viable. With the possibility of a refund thrown in, back Chelsea on the Asian handicap.
If any one player is going to steal the show in this one, Hazard is the likely candidate. The Belgian has been Chelsea’s best player in this competition so far and will see this clash as another chance to prove himself as one of the world’s elite.
He’d be out pick for Man of the Match too, but we’re putting our money on the no.10 to score.