Champions League Preview: Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid

“For months now my name has come out linked with Manchester United. The English press said they were willing to pay €100 million, which is my release clause.”

“I was not going to waste time denying it. No matter how much I repeat that I am delighted at Atletico, that I have a great coach and great teammates, they ask me regularly about my future. At Real Sociedad, I realised I had reached a moment where I had to move to keep progressing, that has not happened at Atletico Madrid. Although, again, I rule nothing out.”

French superstar Antoine Griezmann has been the man to watch out for in recent past, both on and off the pitch. His exploits last season urged English giants Manchester United to pursue his services by splurging a sum of €100M. However, this failed to transpire into something concrete as a result of an unexpected transfer ban till January 2018 on Atletico Madrid.

With the ban all set to be lifted next month, big-spending clubs like Paris St Germain, Real Madrid, and long-time admirers Manchester United will certainly be on the watch out. Griezman has been Atletico Madrid’s leading goal-scorer and assists maker in the season so far with 5 goals and 3 assists respectively in a dismal season so far.

The side is perched 3rd on the points table with 6 points, dangerously close to sealing an unexpected Europa League berth after finishing as runner-ups two seasons back. Italian giants Roma are second with 8 points while Chelsea leads the charts with 10.

With the Champions League nearing the business end in its last group stage clash, Atletico Madrid will be battling it out against Chelsea in a do-or-die away clash with nothing short of a win capable of ensuring a Champions League berth to a reasonable degree. The onus will be on Griezmann to step up and lead from the front in a clash which could mould or tarnish his reputation of being one of the best in the business after critics questioned his ability to perform under pressure.

Chelsea are currently enjoying a 5-match unbeaten run after romping home 3-1 against Newcastle which will do their confidence no harm. Atletico, on the other hand, have made a tremendous comeback at the same time after a frustrating 0-0 draw against cross-town rivals Real Madrid embarking on a 4-match unbeaten streak.

Michy Batshuayi rammed home a late-winner against Atletico during their last group stage clash ensuring a 2-1 win after being largely dominated throughout the game. Simeone will be eager to extract revenge on Tuesday Night.

David Luiz, Kennedy, and Michy Batshuayi are expected to miss out for the hosts with injuries while defenders Stefan Savic and Juaffran miss out for the visitors.

Predicted Lineups

Chelsea: 3-4-2-1

Courtois

Rudiger Christensen Azpilicueta

Moses  Kante Fabregas Alonso

       Willian               Hazard

Morata

Atletico Madrid: 4-4-2

Oblak

Thomas Giminez Godin Luis

Correa Saul Gabi Koke

Torres Griezmann

Final Prediction

Atletico are expected to register a 3-1 win in a crucial clash considering the presence of manager Diego Simeone who is more than capable of delivering the goods under pressure with a tactical masterclass. The absence of David Luiz due to injury will certainly hurt Chelsea considering his immense experience and ability to curl in long-rangers. Antoine Griezman and Alvaro Morata will be facing off yet again after battling it out previously during the latter’s stint at Real Madrid which would be nothing short of a treat for viewers.

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