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There will be a plethora of world class talent on the pitch when Atletico Madrid and Chelsea face each other on Wednesday night. However, it’s a player not able to play who has dominated the pre-match coverage.
Diego Costa has finally got his wish to leave Chelsea and return to Atletico Madrid even though the Spanish club are under a transfer embargo until January. There are rumours that the Spain international will be unveiled before Atletico’s first Champions League game at the Wanda Metropolitano but both these teams are professional enough to put that side show to one side come kickoff.
Having been held to a draw away to Roma in their opening match of Group C, Atletico are under pressure to maximise their home advantage with three points against the Premier League champions. That will be no easy task against a Chelsea side who opened their campaign with a 6-0 win over Qarabag and who have not lost since their first match of the season.
Atletico Madrid 6/5 (William Hill)
Draw 9/4 (Betfred)
Chelsea 12/5 (Bet365)
Many teams find it difficult to adjust when moving into a new stadium but there has so far been no negative impact on Atletico Madrid’s results. They’ve won both their league games at home without conceding but know the visit of Chelsea represents their toughest challenge so far.
After a summer full of rumours of discontent behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s strong start to the season has come as a bit of a surprise. Antonio Conte was able to bring in some top quality reinforcements to his squad and they look set to be a major player in the title race once again.
Some pundits have questioned whether Chelsea have the strength in depth to be taken as serious Champions League contenders. Time will tell whether those critics are right or not, for now though, the Blues’ squad is in very good shape. Conte has an almost fully fit roster to choose from and Chelsea didn’t exactly have to work hard against Stoke on Saturday afternoon.
Atletico Madrid have bags of experience in this competition and a selection of world class talent but even they may find themselves frustrated by Conte’s Chelsea. A draw would be a much better result for the away side and they can secure a very important point at 9/4 with Betfred.
Draw 1-1 @ 11/2 (William Hill)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 @ 11/2 (Bet365)
Draw 0-0 @ 15/2 (Betfred)
Atletico Madrid 2-1 @ 17/2 (Ladbrokes)
Chelsea 1-0 @ 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Atletico Madrid 2-0 @ 9/1 (Betfred)
Chelsea tore into Qarag at Stamford Bridge to take top spot in Group C. The return of Eden Hazard to full fitness means the Blues could have an even stronger starting XI than they did a fortnight ago but don’t expect anything like six goals against Atletico. Diego Simeone’s side are incredibly resilient and almost never give up easy chances to their opponents.
If Wednesday night’s game is going to end with both teams picking up a point, it’s most likely to be via a 0-0 (15/2 with Betfred) or 1-1 (11/2 with William Hill) score line. This is a better Chelsea side than that which was taken apart by Atletico 4-1 in the 2012 Super Cup and both teams have enough attacking talent to believe the game won’t end goalless like their encounter in Madrid in 2014. Therefore, we’d favour the latter option.
Antoine Griezmann 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
Alvaro Morata 5/1 (Coral)
Angel Correa 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Fernando Torres 5/1 (Coral)
Kevin Gameiro 5/1 (Ladbrokes)
Luciano Vietto 5/1 (William Hill)
Michy Batshuayi 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
Eden Hazard 15/2 (Paddy Power)
Diego Costa is not the first striker to make the switch from Chelsea back to Atletico Madrid. Fernando Torres started his career at Atletico and rejoined his boyhood club permanently in 2016 after a successful spell in English football which included winning both the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea.
While Torres will get a good reception from the Chelsea fans when he returns to Stamford Bridge, Alvaro Morata will be expecting something altogether different on his return to Madrid. The Spain international has hit the ground running for his new club, scoring six goals in six appearances, including a hat-trick against Stoke on the weekend.
As a former Real Madrid player, he will be far from the most popular player among the Atletico fans but that could just spur Morata on towards another quality performance. Morata offers something different to Costa but he’s proving to be no less effective for Chelsea and he is a very solid option in the First Goalscorer market at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Match result draw at 9/4 with Betfred
Alvaro Morata to score first at 5/1 with Ladbrokes