Chelsea v Atletico Madrid: Champions League match preview
A look ahead to this Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge
Wednesday 30 April 2014
Chelsea will hope experience is the key in this second leg tie. Unlike Atletico Madrid, whose appearance in the semi-final is their first for 40 years, the Blues have reached this stage six times in the Abramovich era. With Jose Mourinho’s expert knowledge of how to win this competition and his side coming off the back of a morale-boosting win at Anfield, Chelsea will be quietly confident.
Atletico prepared for this game by grinding out a ninth successive league win. Diego Simeone’s side have breathing space at the top of La Liga and are unbeaten in the Champions League this season. After a first leg stalemate displayed the sides’ records as having the meanest defences in their respective leagues, this week’s affair should prove more exciting, with Atletico knowing that an away goal could prove crucial.
Thibaut Courtois will return to Stamford Bridge looking to further enhance his sterling reputation by denying his parent club - including former Atletico hero Fernando Torres - a third final in six years. Had he not gone out on loan for a third successive season, Courtois could be lining up for the home side, after an injury ended Petr Cech’s season. The Blues also have Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel suspended, while Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7:45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Atletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0, Champions League, April 2014
Chelsea 1 (Cahill) Atletico Madrid 4 (Falcao 3, Miranda), Super Cup, August 2012
Atletico Madrid 2 (Aguero 2) Chelsea 2 (Drogba 2), Champions League, November 2009
Atletico Madrid have beaten three recent Champions League winners en route to the semi-finals, in the shape of Porto, AC Milan and Barcelona.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 matches with Spanish sides in the Champions League. Their last defeat was against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in February 2006.
Atletico Madrid have only conceded five goals in 10 Champions League games this season, making them the team with the best defence in the competition.
Diego Costa has scored seven goals in the Champions League this season, more than Chelsea’s two top scorers put together. Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o all have three strikes to their names.
The tie brings together the last two winners of the Europa League.
86 per cent of goals - six out of seven - conceded by Chelsea in the Champions League this season have come in the second half.
Chelsea to win: 2.25
Atletico Madrid to win: 3.3
When Chelsea faced Atletico in their first ever Super Cup final, they had earned their spot by winning the Champions League and becoming - in name at least - the best team in Europe. Madrid made a mockery of this title, with Radamel Falcao at the centre of a 4-1 hiding doled out in the picturesque surroundings of Monaco. The Colombian striker’s superb hat-trick emphasised his place as one of the best in the world, and nine months later he was back in Monaco as the nouveau riche club’s new £51m signing.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 7:45pm, highlights on Sky Sports 1 at 12am.
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