Chelsea will be travelling to the Spanish capital to face Atletico Madrid in the hardest test of their group stage encounters. The Blues will be facing the Rojablancos in their new stadium, Wanda Metropolitano where they will see a familiar face in the form of ex-striker Diego Costa, albeit in the stands.
Atletico have been issued a transfer embargo by the UEFA and can’t register new players until January and that means that Costa won’t actually be available for selection. His presence at Atletico has been the talk of the town recently but this Wednesday, the focus will be on two top quality European teams ready to beat each other.
The two sides last met during the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League campaign where Atletico emerged victors over the course of the two legs in the semi-final stage. Here are a few talking points –
Chelsea were for the very first time out of the Champions League since the 2003-04 season and completely out of Europe for the first time in 20 years. In their first game in Europe after a yearlong hiatus, the Blues defeated Azerbaijani champions Qarabag 6-0. They have also started a difficult week in the best way possible beating Stoke 4-0 at the Bet365 stadium. This week will be the Blues’ first true test of their return to Europe’s elite.
Atletico have been one of the more influential sides in the competition in recent times having reached the final against city rivals Real Madrid two times and the West London side will have to be on their best possible form to beat the Rojablancos.
Atletico’s Attacking Arsenal
Atletico will be without the services of Brazilian born Spanish striker Diego Costa until January but that in no means will deter the Madrid based club from attacking. They have a more than impressive attacking arsenal in the form of Frenchman Antoine Griezmann, ex Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, Argentine Angel Correa and Belgian Yanick Carrasco.
Coach Diego Simeone has never lost to an English side with three wins from 5 games. Chelsea will have to be very solid in the defence to stop the stalwarts from Atletico from scoring.
Morata’s High-flying Form
Having played for Real Madrid for two seasons, the Spaniard is no stranger to his ex-city rivals. He has featured in the derby and knows how the Atletico defence functions. He will be looking to exploit that very knowledge and experience.
The Spaniard has been high on form after scoring 6 goals from 6 games in the Premier League for the Blues this season. He even registered a hattrick against Stoke in the Blues’ last game and his performance will be very instrumental if the Blues are to beat the Rojablancos.