Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Preview: Blues must banish Black Cats loss with a result in Spain

‘Are they in the bottom half of the Premier League, struggling for survival, and expected to be on the end of a beating? No? Oh, that’s OK then. Bring ‘em on!’

Perhaps a little clunky, but that’s roughly our mindset now, thanks to some particularly horrifying results against lesser English opposition. Gone are the days of 7-0/8-0 against the riff-raff flailing at the foot of the EPL; now, they are even waltzing into Castle Stamford, scoring in our goal, tackling our players, taking our points…

Well, a trip to the volcanic Vicente Calderon may well do us some good, with the first leg of the Champions League semi-final sure to get Mourinho’s men back in their groove. For one thing, Atletico Madrid are far from being an inferior side.

Atleti’s frightening attack

Diego Simeone’s Atleti are flying high at the very top of La Liga, ahead of both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and are the Spanish League equivalent of Liverpool in terms of shock superiority. Like Liverpool, they’ve become title favourites in the betting on Betfair in the home stretch of the season. They hold a four point lead over second-placed Barca, and are no flash in the pan commodity.

Fronted by the formidable Diego Costa, this season’s attacking revelation (and quite possibly a Chelsea striker to be), the naturalised Spaniard has been wrecking defences all over Europe, smashing in 35 goals in just 43 games.

Ably assisted by the all-time Spain top scorer David Villa, Turkish superstar Arda Turan, and golden boy Koke; Atletico will ask plenty of questions of the Chelsea defence, and we will have to be at our best to pass the test.

No Hazard, no hope?

Much of the pre-match chatter has focused on the potential of David Luiz playing ahead of Ashley Cole in the absence of Branislav Ivanovic, but Eden Hazard’s potential loss from the squad for Spain could be crucial.

The Belgian missed training today with his problematic calf problem, with the Mirror reporting that he is unlikely to travel to Madrid.

Fingers crossed, as we certainly need our Belgian maestro.

We must score, but with Courtois stop us?

Chelsea must be heading out to the Spanish capital to score, with away goals critically important at this stage of the competition. But with Thibaut Courtois set to take his place between the Atleti sticks, it will be a tremendously difficult task.

With the wing-span of a fully-grown heron, the Belgian has blossomed into one of the best goalkeepers in the world under Simeone, and we must hope he doesn’t have as much effect on proceedings as Fabio Borini, who is now as popular in West London as a dose of the clap.

Prediction

A 1-1 draw would be a great result for us, and I think wholly plausible. The real fight will surely come at the Bridge, our no longer impenetrable home.

It will be hugely important for Jose to rally his troops, ‘forgive’ them for losing his 77-match unbeaten record and buckling against a half-relegated subsidiary, and instill in them the necessary belief to overcome the wildcard Atleti, who if underestimated, could hand us a vat of salt to go nicely with our gaping, Black Cat-shaped wound.

Article by Tom Gatehouse.

One Response to “Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Preview: Blues must banish Black Cats loss with a result in Spain”

  1. It matters not were we play them.

    Chelsea will end up in final stage of dis year UCL_final. Bluess