UEFA Champions League preview: Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid – 27 September, 2017 – Group C.
In a group of just four teams that has three like Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Roma in it, it could ultimately boil down to whoever can beat FK Qarabag most badly. Goal differences could play a big part in determining the Top two of Group C. A cluster that could see very closely fought matches. One such could be anticipated at Wanda Metropolitano (previously known as Vicente Calderon) next week.
Chelsea seems to have taken one small step in the right direction. They did this by beating a hapless Qarabag 6-0, home at Stamford Bridge in their UEFA Champions opener. They achieved this without heavyweight names like Morata, Hazard, Moses and David Luiz. Coach Antonio Conte fielded a less-than-full strength side. It included debutante Davide Zappacosta who opened his account for his new club with a goal. As did Monaco import, 23-year old Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Atletico Madrid have had to play four of their five La Liga games away from home. This is thanks to a delay in the unveiling of the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
They haven't lost in any of those games and their UEFA opener to Roma saw the Los Colchoneros strangle Roma to a 0-0 draw in typical Diego Simeone fashion and gain a valuable away point. In fact, the Madrdid side should have come away with three points. However they were denied by two of their seven shots on target hitting the woodwork.
Chelsea are bound to attack and look for goals at the Madrid clash, now that Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard look certain to start. Willian, Pedro and the great improviser, Cesc Fabregas, will look to create scoring opportunities as the game builds up. However coach Simeone is so good at stifling opponents that Chelsea's free-flowing game could very well come apart. In Juanfran, Savic and Godin he has the perfect combine at the back to negate any kind of threat the Blues may throw up in the Atletico box. Adding to that defensive strength is goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who is among the best in the business. Likewise, the Blues back-line will have to watch out for blistering counter-attacks initiated by the likes of Koke, Carrasco and put to an effective conclusion by one of the best finishers in world football, the 26-year old Frenchman, Antoine Griezmann.
The runners-up of the 2013-14 and 2015-16 UEFA Champions League are indeed a very hard team to get past. Which is why the bookmakers' odds favor the hosts in the 27th September's Madrid clash.