Thursday, January 18, 2018

Prediction: Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

The final round of Champions League games occurs in midweek as Europe’s top sides come together for the last time in the group stages in 2017. The three points on offer could prove to be the difference between a side continuing their European campaign in the Champions League or Europa League, and having to watch on from home in the new year. With this in mind, one of the biggest games sees heavyweights Chelsea hosting Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Chelsea

What a campaign it has been for the Blues as they have already secured their place in the knock0out stages of the competition. They have managed to bounce back from two games in which they dropped five points overall, as they drew 3-3 with Roma at Stamford Bridge, before losing 3-0 in the reverse of the fixture. Their trouncing of Qarabag coupled with Roma’s defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid have put the English side on course to go through at the top of their group. It has been a solid campaign from Antonio Conte’s men, with their group undoubtedly the toughest in the Champions League this season. Interestingly for the Blues, while they have been very good going forward, scoring 15 times, they have struggled at the back, conceding seven goals. Conte must look to remedy this, or they will struggle against a rejuvenated Atletico Madrid side that have been in fine form lately, and they must now look to ensure they go through top, in order to secure themselves a kinder tie in the next round of the competition. At home, the Blues are superb, and they are coming off the back of a strong 3-1 win over Newcastle United at the Bridge. This one will not be easy for Chelsea, but they will be confident of completing an impressive double over Atleti.

Team news

Michy Batshuayi returned to the bench for Chelsea’s game against Newcastle but is unlikely to start with Alvaro Morata in fine form, while Charly Musonda and Kennedy may also be doubts for the game. David Luiz is still missing due to a knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines for a number of weeks.

Atletico Madrid

It has been a hugely disappointing campaign for Atletico Madrid, but it may still have a positive ending. After five games they have won just one game, drawing three times and losing once. While they have struggled for wins, their victory came in their last game as they were able to overpower Roma to give themselves a chance of making it to the latter stages of the Champions League. The fact they have scored four times and conceded just three goals displays exactly where their problems lie. Offensively they have been unable to score enough goals, with Antoine Griezmann’s struggles hurting the side massively, and it has seen the talisman get subjected to boos from his own fans. Despite this, Atleti maintain slim hopes of making it out of their group. They do of course need a monumental favour from Qarabag, but the group minnows did hold Atleti to two draws when they played, while they also need to beat Chelsea and better Roma’s goal difference if they are to go through. It is a big ask, but stranger things have happened in the Champions League in recent years. While huge disappointment may be on the horizon for the side, they must ensure that if their Champions League campaign is to end on Tuesday, then it must culminate with a win over Chelsea.

Team news

Juanfran remains out with a hamstring injury that has seen him miss the last five matches in all competition.

Key Factors

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions (W5 D1).

Chelsea can secure top spot with a win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

A win may not be enough for Atleti if Roma win against Qarabag.

Atletico have only scored four goals this campaign, just two more than Qarabag.

Alvaro Morata has scored nine goals and assisted four times in 14 Premier League games, while Eden Hazard has eight goals and six assists in 18 games in all competitions this season.

Conclusion

Atletico Madrid will go all out to win this one and it may see a very different and less compact side than people have become accustomed to seeing under Diego Simeone. Conte will look to make it two wins from two against Atleti this season, while it would also secure top spot in the group. Despite the Spanish team being in desperate need of a win, we are backing the home side to come away with all three points.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Benjamin Darvill


Ben is an English and creative writing graduate that is now working his way up in the world of sports journalism. Having been writing for the last four years, Ben has written for a number of websites specialising in sport, with football a particular passion. He is a long-suffering England fan and eternal optimist when it comes to the Three Lions.

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