Chelsea v Atletico Madrid - Preview

Tonight Chelsea v Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge is a chance for Chelsea to take a massive step towards qualification for the next sta...

Tonight Chelsea v Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge is a chance for Chelsea to take a massive step towards qualification for the next stages of the Champions League. With two wins from two already and six points, tonight is a chance to establish some distance from the other teams in the group with one foot in the next round.

Chelsea coming off the back of a defeat away to Villa last week will look to improve their performace and get things back on track and tonight is a great opportunity to do that. But like most teams in the Champions League who come to the Bridge barring Barcelona, they will look to shut up shop and make us break them down.

Tonight Chelsea are without Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba who serves the last of his 3 match ban. Chelsea look to welcome back Michael Ballack and Branislav Ivanovic back into the squad ahead of tonights game.

Ballack has spoken of the fallout from the Villa game ahead of tonight in particular John Terry's reaction to the second goal. He said:

"John's reaction on the pitch showed that he takes a big responsibility not just for himself but for the team," said Ballack. "He was really disappointed when we conceded the second goal.

"That's what you need, emotions like that, to make sure it doesn't happen again. We speak with each other. We have no problem criticising each other in the dressing room. A good team with strong players has to do this."

Carlo Ancelotti has said about the game:

"Atletico have not started the season well, but they have a very good quality. In attack they have Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan who are dangerous strikers. We have to pay attention to this.

"Aguero has fantastic quality and he can resolve the match with his quality. They're a good team but, at this moment, they haven't found a good disposition tactically on the pitch.

"I think that Atletico has a possibility to return to playing well because they have a lot of quality. Now, at this moment, for them it's not easy because Porto have also made a good start.

"It's a very important game. Not only to get back to winning ways after Aston Villa, but to stay top of the group and move to nine points. This will make the next three games in the group easier."

No doubt if we get the win tonight then it will make the remaining games easier in the group. With Drogba back too we should go on and top the group. But as we all know Chelsea are Chelsea and we all know it could go horribly wrong.

The key for me is that the players have spoken out to each other about the mess this season in defending set plays. Its important that they have the freedom to do this and let's hope the issues we obviously have are put to bed. Again, like most sides we will face this season Atletico will be more worried about the threat we pose than us of them, but we have to remain stready at the back as Forlan and Aguero are a menace to any back four in Europe.

Forlan has also spoken out before the game in somewhat of a surprising statement. He said:

“They lost at the weekend, but, for me, they are the best team in the Premier League. With the arrival of Ancelotti, he has made them stronger in defence and more dangerous going forward.

“Ancelotti has really motivated players like Drogba, Ballack and Anelka. The absence of Drogba for the Champions League makes it difficult for them and is good for us.

“But we are prepared for Stamford Bridge and we know we can cause an upset and hopefully I can score. I always get a reaction from the English supporters but that only inspires me.”

“Every time I play an English club in the Champions League, after my time at Manchester United, I feel it’s like a personal vindication for me.

“After the defeat against Argentina, it would be beautiful for me to win in London and this game could be decisive for us.

“Atletico Madrid are not playing well in La Liga and we know that this game is so important for us in the Champions League.”

Better than United? Well of course as a Chelsea fan and true blue I have to agree!  But its games like tonight where Chelsea can show the rest of Europe that we are there to be beaten in this competition right till the death. We have established our pedigree in recent seasons and its about time we played to our maximum potential and lay down a marker so Europe sits up and takes notice!

Prediction : Believe it or not I am going for a clean sheet (after Villa !) and a 2-0 to the Blues!

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