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The final round of fixtures in the Champions League always provides a mixture of dead rubbers and vitally important matches. Generally speaking, the players competing know which category their game falls into but Tuesday’s encounter between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid could go either way. It all depends on how Roma start their match against Qarabag in the Eternal City.
Atletico Madrid’s only hope of qualifying for the knockout stage is by beating Chelsea and hoping that Roma fail to beat Qarabag. On first view, Atletico’s chances look very slim indeed. Qarabag are the whipping boys of Group C having conceded 13 goals and scored just two. However, Atletico know just how belligerent Qarabag can be. Diego Simeone’s men were held to draws in both of their encounters with Qarabag and they’ll be praying the Azerbaijani side are able to finish on a high against Roma.
Those Atletico fans who make the trip to Stamford Bridge will know exactly what’s happening at the Stadio Olimpico and you can be sure they’ll pass the message onto the players. If Roma take a commanding early lead against Qarabag, heads will drop and Chelsea will have an easier evening. If events go the other way, the Blues could be in for an onslaught as Atletico do everything they can to remain in the Champions League.
Chelsea 21/20 (Ladbrokes)
Draw 13/5 (Bet365)
Atletico Madrid 11/4 (Betfred)
As a manager who has taken his team to the Champions League final, Diego Simeone knows the perils of underestimating an opponent. He just has to point out the way his players were punished for dropping their levels against Qarabag and how Chelsea’s extra fight saw Atletico lose from behind in their first meeting.
An Antoine Griezmann penalty gave Atleti the lead in their first Champions League match at the Wanda Metropolitano but an Alvaro Morata equaliser on the hour mark gave Chelsea the platform for Michy Batshuayi to snatch the three points in the 94th minute.
The win in the Spanish capital was arguably Chelsea’s best performance of the season to date but they went on to lose their next two games. That difficult spell saw Conte come in for criticism and there were serious suggestions that he was on his way out of Stamford Bridge. Conte dug it out though and, backed by support from the stands, has turned Chelsea’s form around.
As for his opposite number, Diego Simeone will point to a run of 13 games without defeat but there can be no argument about it, Atletico have been a disappointment so far. They’ve especially struggled to score enough goals in the big matches, a flaw which we think will hurt them again at Stamford Bridge.
With Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings for Chelsea, they look well placed to secure top spot in Group C with a win at 21/20 with Ladbrokes.
Draw 1-1 @ 6/1 (William Hill)
Chelsea 1-0 @ 13/2 (Betfred)
Chelsea 2-1 @ 15/2 (Coral)
Chelsea 2-0 @ 9/1 (Coral)
Draw 0-0 @ 9/1 (Bet365)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 @ 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
Chelsea’s form changed dramatically last season after being beaten 3-0 by Arsenal. Conte never wants his team to be humbled but the Blues have performed much better since a similarly chastening defeat away to Roma. Since that game, Chelsea’s defence has been breached just twice thanks to a change in personnel and a tweak in their shape.
As we’ve seen, the game in Rome will have a major impact on the mood and attacking intent of the Atletico Madrid players. Having lost 2-0 in the Spanish capital, Roma will be doing all they can do put their qualification beyond doubt early doors. Chances are Tuesday’s game at Stamford Bridge will turn into something of a procession for Chelsea so if you’re having a correct score bet, the Chelsea 2-0 selection could pay dividends at 9/1 with Coral.
Alvaro Morata 4/1 (Paddy Power)
Michy Batshuayi 4/1 (William Hill)
Eden Hazard 5/1 (Ladbrokes)
Antoine Griezmann 11/2 (Paddy Power)
Pedro 6/1 (Ladbrokes)
Fernando Torres 7/1 (Paddy Power)
Kevin Gameiro 7/1 (Coral)
Angel Correa 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Despite not hitting their strides this season, the Atletico Madrid fans can at least be happy that they are currently above city rivals Real in the Liga table. However, it could be a Real Madrid old boy who sends Atletico crashing out of the Champions League.
Alvaro Morata scored Chelsea’s first goal in the first game between these two and his hot goalscoring form makes him look a good bet to score first in West London at 4/1 with Paddy Power. If you think Atletico will make life interesting by opening the scoring, Angel Correa looks good value at 9/1 with Paddy Power.
Chelsea to win at 21/20 with Ladbrokes
Chelsea 2-0 correct score at 9/1 with Coral