Chelsea and Atletico Madrid meet at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night with the visitors’ Champions League fate hanging in the balance. A win is a must, if they are to have any hope of qualifying from Group C.
Diego Simeone’s side need a win and have to hope that Roma lose to Qarabag, otherwise it will be the Europa League for them post Christmas.
The home side have different challenges ahead of them. Progress has already been secured, but a win would clinch top spot in the group.
Here are three key battles which could decide the outcome of this clash…
1. Antoine Griezmann vs Andreas Christensen
At 26, Antoine Griezmann is an experienced forward used to playing elite games for both club and country. He will be up against Andreas Christensen, a relative newcomer, who has only this year broken through the ranks to become a Chelsea regular.
Chelsea have been solid defensively this season with the young Dane earning his place alongside (and ahead of) more established stars.
Griezmann scored from the spot in the reverse fixture, but has been out of sorts this season. He will need to get back to near his unstoppable best if he is to get the better of Christensen and his teammates.
2. Eden Hazard vs Diego Godin
In the last seven games, Atletico have conceded just twice and shouldn’t be written off from springing an upset against Conte’s already-qualified side.
Godin is the heartbeat of the resolute defence bringing leadership and experience to Simeone’s well-drilled outfit. However, he will be up against one of the best performing players in the world currently in Eden Hazard.
Despite not scoring in the reverse fixture, Hazard has netted three times in the Champions League this season and has had a huge impact in the results for Chelsea.
If the Belgian isn’t effectively covered, Godin’s lack of agility could lead to problems for the away side, while Hazard’s pace on the counter will be another issue for the Uruguayan tio contend with.
3. Thibaut Courtois vs Jan Oblak
Both Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak have been instrumental for their clubs over the last few years.
Oblak has only conceded three times this European campaign and Atletico hold the best defensive record in the group. If the Slovenian can keep Chelsea’s forwards at bay, Atletico have a huge chance to win at Stamford Bridge, putting the pressure on Roma.