Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid
| Stamford Bridge, London | 30th April, 2014 | 19:45 GMT |
Chelsea will go into their Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid brimming with confidence, after a valiant performance saw them win 2-0 against Premier League leaders Liverpool. Control, patience and discipline were the fundamentals of Sunday’s display at Anfield, and the Blues will be striving for a similar display at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
However, Chelsea’s opponents, Atletico Madrid, will arrive at Stamford Bridge in high spirits after a 1-0 victory at Valencia saw them edge closer to their first La Liga triumph in 18 years. Atletico – rejuvenated, confident and bullish under Diego Simeone’s guidance – will provide the sternest of tests for Chelsea. They are the only unbeaten side left in the competition, and, with Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois between the posts, they have only conceded five goals in eleven games. Further, with Diego Costa in their side, Atletico have one of the deadliest strikers in world football.
Chelsea will definitely be without the injured Petr Cech, suspended midfielders Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel, as well as the cup-tied Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic.
However, Chelsea will be boosted by the news that captain, John Terry, may make the game, despite picking up an ankle injury in the first leg. Newly-crowned PFA Young Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, is likely to play some part, as is the ever reliable and experienced Samuel Eto’o, in spite of hamstring and knee problems respectively.
After a cagey, tight and tentative 0-0 affair at the Vincente Calderon in the first leg, both sides know they will need to show more, with the biggest game in club football up for grabs. Just how Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone set up their sides remains to be seen.
Mourinho will be very wary of leaving space which a side as ruthless as Atletico could so easily exploit on the counter. Yet, with the Stamford Bridge crowd behind them, the onus will be on Chelsea to show much more attacking intent than they did in Madrid. Atletico know that a score draw will be enough to see them through, so don’t expect Atletico to pour forward in search of a goal unless needed. Needless to say, the first goal in this tie will be crucial. A fascinating game awaits us.
Mourinho remarked after Sunday’s game: “To play Champions League semi final at Stamford Bridge is something big”. Quite Jose. Quite.