Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups + Predicted Score
Chelsea will take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge tonight. Here’s a preview with team news, likely line-ups and predicted score.
Chelsea will be looking to book a date with Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League when they take on Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge this evening.
The tie is finely poised following a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their semi-final last week in Spain but the Blues have an excellent home record so should be confident of getting the job done on home soil and securing their place in the final next month in Lisbon.
Jose Mourinho remains on course to become the first manager to lift the Champions League with three different clubs having previously won Europe’s top prize with FC Porto and Inter Milan.
The Portuguese coach kept his hopes of a sensational double alive with a masterful 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and he managed to beat the league leaders despite resting a number of key first team players.
Chelsea will make it a hat-trick of European wins if they can go all the way in this year’s competition having won the Champions League and Europa League in the two previous seasons. However, the Blues will face a tough Atletico Madrid side this evening with Diego Simeone’s men currently leading the La Liga table by four points with just three games to play.
Atletico are unbeaten in their last 14 games in all competitions, have already knocked out the likes of AC Milan and Barcelona in previous rounds, and are the only remaining unbeaten team in the Champions League, so Chelsea know they’ll be in for a real battle tonight.
Real Madrid await the victors after their impressive 5-0 aggregate win over reigning champions Bayern Munich. Mourinho will love nothing more than to beat his former side in the final but an all-Madrid final would also be an intriguing contest.
Chelsea have been handed a triple injury boost with John Terry, Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o all in contention to start after recovering from injury.
Terry was initially ruled out after twisting his ankle in the first leg last week but has made a speedy recovery and Mourinho confirmed his skipper will start tonight.
Hazard has been nursing a calf injury in recent weeks while Eto’o has been suffering from a hamstring strain, but the duo took part in training on Monday and are available for selection, although Fernando Torres is still favourite to start up front against his former side.
However, goalkeeper Petr Cech is unlikely to feature despite training yesterday after picking up a shoulder injury at the Vicente Calderon last Tuesday, so Mark Schwarzer will continue to deputise in goal.
Mourinho has restricted options in midfield as Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel are both suspended while Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible, so it looks like David Luiz will be joined by Ramires in front of the defence.
Atletico will have to make-do without influential captain Gabi after he picked up a third yellow card last week. Defender Javi Manquillo has travelled to London but isn’t expected to start as he’s still suffering from a neck injury.
Betting Tips & Prediction
Jose Mourinho has come under fire for his unadventurous style of play in recent games. Last week’s 0-0 bore draw in the first leg was followed up with an ultra-defensive performance at Anfield on Sunday, but you can’t argue with the results he’s secured.
Tonight’s game is going to be interesting as neither side particularly like having possession of the ball with both teams set-up to play counter-attacking football, so it’s certainly likely to be a cagey game during the opening stages.
I would certainly bet that the game will be 0-0 at half-time, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the tie is still locked at 0-0 by the end of the 90 minutes this evening. Skybet are currently offering very tempting odds of 7/1 that the tie goes to extra-time and that could be worth a few quid. To cover your back, it might also be worth backing Chelsea to win 1-0 with Paddy Power as they are offering a money back guarantee if it ends goalless.
Chelsea won’t leave themselves open at the back as they know if they concede a goal, they’ll need to score two to progress – which won’t be easy against a side that’s conceded just once in their last 10 games and boast the best defensive record in La Liga – so I’m going to predict the Blues edge it with a second half winner.
Predicted Score: Chelsea 1-0 Atletico Madrid
What would be your team and what’s your predicted score for the game? Share your views below.
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