The UEFA Champions League draw took place in Rome on Thursday and Chelsea have been given one of the trickier groups. The Blues were amongst those in pot 1 alongside all the clubs that had won their domestic leagues.
After a one year absence, Chelsea’s return to Europe’s grandest stage will include trips to Spain, Italy and Azerbaijan. The past two times the Blues entered the competition, they were knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain. The year before they were sent packing by their now AWOL striker Diego Costa. Antonio Conte will be hoping the 2017/18 campaign offers a more favourable outcome.
Here’s a look at Chelsea’s Group C opponents.
Diego Simeone’s men are perhaps one of the most feared propositions in Europe. In the past four campaigns, they’ve been semi-finalists, runner-ups, quarter finalists and runner-ups again. They’ve consistently reached the latter stages of the competition, often only being knocked out by the eventual winners.
Chelsea haven’t beaten Atlético Madrid in their past 4 meetings, in fact, they’ve only ever beaten them once in their history. Atlético Madrid will be a stern test for Antonio Conte’s men as Los Rojiblancos are a formidable team. The race for the winner of the group will certainly be between Atlético and the Blues.
Despite being sanctioned with a transfer ban, Atlético are still in a strong position for the season. The tying down of Antoine Griezmann has galvanised the club as they look set to take advantage of Barcelona’s apparent decline.