UEFA Champions League is a competition we all love, and that too for a reason which is that we get to witness the best of one country go up against the best of another in the quest for glory.
On Wednesday, there will be one such tie which football lovers will love to watch again as Atletico Madrid face England champions Chelsea at their new home ground Wanda Metropolitano.
In the recent past, Atletico emerged as one of the strongest teams in the continent and qualified twice for the tournament’s final in last four years, losing to city rivals Real on each occasion.
On the other hand, 2012 champions Chelsea had relatively tough time in Europe as they managed to qualify for just one semi-final in last five years.
Los Rojiblancos and the Blues have faced each other five times in the competition, where the English giants have the edge over their rivals after claiming two victories to one, whereas two matches ended in a stalemate.
Keeping that in mind, we identified five things which we should expect to see in one of the feisty contest of the matchday two in the Champions League.
Battle of the maestro
In Chelsea and Atletico, Europe has two of the best tacticians in the world of football — Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone.
On Simeone’s credit is the rise of Atletico, who are now the real third force behind Barcelona and Real in Spain. On Conte’s part, he deserved massive respect for turning weak looking Chelsea into more than competitive in just one season. Both also had relative amount of success at both domestic and European level, and come Wednesday, regardless of who will win, one thing is for sure that fans will see a great tactical battle on the field.
Griezmann, Hazard fight to prove supremacy
Antoine Griezmann and Eden Hazard are undoubtedly two of the top 10 talents in the world of football, and when on song — each of them has the ability to turn the game on its head. French international Griezmann clearly has the edge over Hazard in this tie— both in terms of minutes and goals under his belt. But knowing the capability of Hazard, it will be too big of a risk to count him out.
Defence — the focal point
Atletico, under Simeone, have developed themselves as one of the tightest defences in the continent. But on Wednesday, they will face Conte’s Chelsea, who themselves have taken their defence to another level with a 3-5-2 formation. It is hard to say who will come out on top, but with such immaculate defensive units, one thing is for sure — there will be very few goals in the game.
Goal scoring will be tougher with top goalies
Good goalkeepers are hard to find, but Chelsea and Atletico have two of the hottest properties in Europe in Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak. Courtois has experience of playing for Diego Simeone in the past, but he will be playing for the first time at Wanda Metropolitano. On the other hand, Oblak is an instant hit amongst his supporters and has already shown what he is capable of. With robust defences upfront, these two goalkeepers are certain to make things difficult for the attacking players of their opposition.
There are not many managers who show emotions on the sidelines, and if there are, they are not any better than Conte and Simeone. The duo has a history of showing great reactions on the sidelines, and with so much stake, emotions can take centre stage on Wednesday.