Atletico v Chelsea Preview

UEFA Champions League | Tuesday 22 April | Estadio Vicente Calderón | 20:45




The UEFA Champions League 2014 gears up for another mouth-watering clash as Atletico Madrid take on 2012 champions Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho returns to Madrid, this time however with a different mission as he leads his Chelsea side looking to get the all important semi-final first leg victory and take a major step to the final of the UEFA Champions league.

Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are evenly matched with similar strengths and that consensus is that it will be something of an ugly grapple for the right to take on Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in next month’s final.

To Win (90mins)
Atl. Madrid 8/10 
Draw 24/10 
Chelsea 36/10

ATLETICO MADRID

Diego Simeone's men have won eight straight matches in the Spanish top flight in what has been a superb campaign and remain favourites to dethrone reigning champions Barcelona.

Perhaps more impressively was the way that Atleti ensured their first semi-final in Europe's premier competition since 1974, as they overcame Barca 2-1 on aggregate.

The way in which Simeone's side quelled the threat of superstar Lionel Messi over the two legs was a particular highlight.

However, Chelsea have often proved their mettle in the Champions League in recent seasons, including lifting the famous trophy in 2012 following a penalty shootout victory over current champions Bayern Munich.

Simeone has created a team in a style closely associated with Mourinho.

One that is tight at the back, lethal on the break, industrious, complete with desire and a winning mentality and already a proven ability to acquire trophies.

Atletico have been boosted by the news that Turkish midfielder Arda Turan is fit to feature along with leading goalscorer Diego Costa, who has been heavily linked with a summer switch to Stamford Bridge.

More good news, Thibaut Courtois is eligible to play against his parent club.

CHELSEA

Mourinho cut a frustrated figure as he witnessed his Chelsea side lose ground in the Premier League title race
in a 2-1 setback to Sunderland on Saturday, a defeat that saw Mourinho's 77-match unbeaten league run at Stamford Bridge come to an end.

Now, the Portuguese manager must prepare his charges and focus on what is likely to be Chelsea's best chance of silverware this season.

But victory will not come easy in Tuesday's first-leg encounter at the Vicente Calderon, against an Atleti side that refuse to relinquish their grasp on top spot in La Liga.

Samuel Eto’o has not travelled to Spain with the 20-man squad due to a minor injury.

Although Eden Hazard has travelled, he is unlikely to start for the Blues.

Branislav Ivanovic is suspended. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are both cup-tied.

Marco van Ginkel may be on the bench for the first time after recovering from his cruciate ligament injury.

Frank Lampard and Willian are both likely to start the game but will need to be careful as both are just a booking away from a ban.

Fernando Torres is expected to lead the line against his boyhood club and will be motivated to perform on the big stage.

Betting Prediction: DRAW (CORRECT SCORE 1-1) 11/2
Atletico come into the match with a 2-0 win over Elche. They have been in pretty good form, with Diego Costa scoring at will. However, Chelsea have been rock solid at the back with the Terry-Cahill pair really clicking this season for the Blues. The draw is tipped with both sides on the score-sheet with a goal a piece. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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