Diego Costa has just agreed a big money move from Chelsea to Atletico Madrid. It didn’t look like he would leave just a few weeks ago but the tables have turned and both teams, as well as the player himself, will be delighted with that. They can all benefit from it, although at over £50 million, I can’t help but think that Madrid overspent.
Costa will not be featuring here, of course. That’s a shame, as it would have made for some additional excitement in what should be an exciting game already. But there is still plenty to enjoy here. So, let’s predict how this game will turn out.
Atletico Madrid are currently second in La Liga. That’s the first bit of good news for them, the second bit of good news is that they are several places ahead of their rivals Real Madrid. Their cross-city rivals are currently in sixth, which means that Atletico can keep their heads held high for now.
They will be hoping for a big finish in the league but they would also like a deep run in the Champions League. This is a great opportunity for them to go far, to outdo other top Spanish teams and, potentially, to become th best team in Europe.
The problem is, I don’t think they are good enough to beat the best teams in the world. They might get the better of Barca or Real during the odd La Liga game. But in Europe, when they go up against the likes of Chelsea, I just can’t see them being good enough.
They are too reliant on their defense for my liking. It is one of the best defenses in the Spanish top flight, but their attack is somewhat behind other top teams in Europe. They have Griezmann, who is easily one of the best strikers in Europe, but he is partnered with the inconsistent Torres and they are lacking a clinical striker to partner him.
That could prove their undoing, but then again, Mourinho has proved that you can win the Champions League title by playing defensive football and sneaking single goal wins week-in week-out.
This is a good time for Chelsea to go up against Atletico Madrid because two key players in their attack, Morata and Hazard, seem to be at the top of their game. There are some positive reports coming off the training ground to suggest that these two are more than ready for this important Champions League tie and they will no doubt relish the trip to Spain to play against one of its better teams.
Chelsea won their first game in the Champions League 6-0 and it’s fair to say that they barely even broke a sweat. This game will obviously be a lot tougher for them, but the momentum train has continued since that game. They did follow it with a somewhat disappointing 0-0 draw against Arsenal, but they then went on to score 9 goals in their next two games, conceding only one.
This is a Chelsea team that clearly knows how to score, which isn’t something you can typically say about Chelsea teams. It’s a strong team from the forward line to the back and it’s one that can enjoy great success when facing teams with issues at the back.
That’s not exactly a good description of Atletico Madrid though. They are stronger defensively than many of the teams that Chelsea have played so far this season and there are questions over Chelsea because of this. After all, if they couldn’t break down Arsenal, who are known to be error prone, then what are their chances of breaking down one of the strongest defenses in La Liga on their own soil?
I think that Chelsea will grab the win here. The odds are against them because it’s never easy to play away from home in Europe and it’s even harder when you are up against teams like Atletico Madrid. They will be very tough to break down, but if anyone can do that it is Chelsea.
Hazard will play a big role here while Morata will be called upon to make the difference on the scoresheet. This could be a group decider, even at this early stage and for me, it’ll be Chelsea that get the decision.
Betting Tip: Chelsea, 3.90 @ SkyBet