Chelsea welcome Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening as they look to secure top spot in Champions’ League Group C. A win for the Blues would guarantee top spot in the group, whilst a draw would encourage Roma in second place to go for it against FK Qarabag. A defeat for Chelsea would then bring Atletico into contention, especially if Roma slip up against the plucky Azerbaijanis.
Antonio Conte seems to have found the formula in recent weeks with his 3-4-3 formation allowing his key men such as Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata to flourish. N’Golo Kante’s presence as ball-winner and ball-player in midfield has provided more balance to the team and the two wing-backs are integral to the Blues’s width in forward areas.
Thibaut Courtois was somewhat culpable for Newcastle’s goal in his last Premier League game but remains undisputed in his place as the Blues’ number one goalkeeper.
Davide Zappacosta was rested on Saturday but is expected to return here, whilst Marcos Alonso has become a staple of any Chelsea team under Antonio Conte.
Andreas Christensen has become one of Chelsea’s most important players in recent weeks and should keep his place here alongside the experienced pairing of Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta, with David Luiz nursing a hip injury that has troubled him in recent weeks.
Cesc Fabregas was instrumental in pulling the strings against Newcastle and should maintain the creative role in Chelsea’s midfield alongside N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko who was also rested against the Magpies.
Eden Hazard’s form has replicated that of last season in recent weeks with the Belgian scoring eight goals in his last eight games in all competitions and his match-winning performance on Saturday was a timely reminder of his influence on this Chelsea side.
Alvaro Morata scored his seventh league goal of the campaign against Newcastle and the Spaniard is acclimatising well to life at Stamford Bridge.
Predicted Starting XI
Things were looking a little ominous for Antonio Conte’s men after the 3-0 thumping at the hands of Roma in game week four.
But the Blues were excellent in their 4-0 win at FK Qarabag on match day five and with Atletico beating Roma, qualification from the group was secured. Atletico have become Champions League stalwarts in recent years but back-to-back draws with FK Qarabag have punctuated their qualification hopes this season. They have to win this game and hope for Roma to slip up against FK Qarabag to avoid playing Europa League football in the New Year, which should add to the game as a spectacle.
The pressure is all on Atletico to go to Chelsea and get something but Antonio Conte’s men are a very resolute outfit and won’t give the game up easily.
Chelsea 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid