Match Preview: Atletico vs. Chelsea

Antoine Griezmann found Yannick Carassco running down the left flank as the Belgian international beat his man, dribbled around the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into an empty net. The goal put Atletico 1-0 up to start the second half against rival club Sevilla. Griezmann netted a goal of his own in the 69th, and the colchoneros held on to improve to 4-2-0 on the young La Liga season. They now sit second in the table, just four points behind 6-0-0 Barcelona.

Last week was an important one for Atletico as they also finalized the signing of Diego Costa, who will return to the club in January after three seasons at Chelsea. The Brazilian addition could give Atleti one of the best one-two striking punches in the world.

The signing also comes ahead of an important match for the two clubs. After drawing 0-0 at Roma earlier this month, Atleti will try for their first Champions League win of the season against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Kickoff is set for 20:45 local time in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Both teams’ attack and overall form are improving at just the right time ahead of this match. Atletico scored four goals in their last two matches after netting just one in the previous three. Antoine Griezmann has been a welcomed addition to the lineup after his two-game suspension with an assist at Athletic Bilbao and a goal against Sevilla. Yannick Carassco scored in both matches and is also in top form.

After a 0-0 draw with Arsenal on September 17th, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte altered his defense but left the same attacking players on the pitch for their match against Stoke on Saturday. His trust in striker Alvaro Morata paid off as the Spanish national netted a hat trick for the London club. At 4-1-1 on the season, Chelsea currently sit third in the English table, just three points behind league leaders Manchester City and Manchester United. They slaughtered Azerbaijan club Qarabag in their Champions League opener by a score of 6-0.

Chelsea and Atletico have met five times before, with Atletico leading the series 2-1 including two draws. The teams last met in the 2014 Champions League Semifinals. They drew 0-0 in the Vicente Calderon, but Adrian, Costa, and Arda Turan answered an early Fernando Torres goal at Stamford Bridge to propel the red and whites to a 3-1 victory and a spot in the final.

The teams have a storied history of exchanging players with 10 players including Fernando Torres, Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luis and Radamel Falcao all playing for both clubs.

Simeone is expected to stick with a similar eleven to the one that beat Sevilla on Saturday. Angel Correa could replace Luciano Vietto up top and Diego Godin is expected to regain his spot at center back. Augusto Fernandez is the only injured player, but Jose Gimenez and Fernando Torres were favored over Sime Vrsjalko and Kevin Gameiro who returned to the squad last week.

Antonio Conte’s men line up in an attacking minded 3-4-2-1 and could make several changes to the team that beat Stoke City 4-0 on Saturday. Thibault Courtois will be in goal with Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill likely along the back line. Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses are the wingers with Tiemoure Bakayoko and N’Golo Konte in center midfield. Pedro will be one attacking midfielder, but we could see either Willian or Eden Hazard alongside him with Alvaro Morata as the lone striker.

Despite being placed in one of the tougher groups, Atletico’s goal is still to finish in first place. A win against Chelsea will be tough, but necessary in order to achieve that goal especially after the opening draw at Roma.

Atletico squad list:
Goalkeepers: Oblak and Moyá.
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Lucas, Juanfran and Giménez.
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas and Gaitán.
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Vietto and Correa.

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