Following their emphatic 6-0 win over Qarabag on matchday one of the Champions League, Chelsea will be looking to continue in the same vein of form as they travel to the Spanish capital to face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
While Chelsea currently top of Group C, Los Rojiblancos sit two points behind the London outfit following a 0-0 draw against AS Roma.
This should be a hard fought affair with three key battles potentially swaying the result of the tie either way.
1. Thibaut Courtois vs Antoine Griezmann
Atletico and France striker, Antoine Griezmann is enjoying a healthy start to the new season, already notching twice from four league games this campaign. On his day, Griezmann can be unstoppable, providing a challenge for even the most experienced, water-tight defences. Therefore, Chelsea shot stopper, Thibaut Courtois, will need to be on top form in order to shut out the 26-year-old striker.
Courtois has already kept four clean sheets this campaign, shipping a mere total of five goals in the league, and none so far in the Champions League. The big Belgian has been one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers since becoming a mainstay in the Chelsea starting 11 and his shot stopping prowess could make all the difference on Wednesday night.
2. Eden Hazard vs Juanfran
The mercurial talents of Eden Hazard are difficult for any defender to negate. Since joining Chelsea in 2012, Hazard has been an incandescently bright spark in Chelsea’s first team, providing goals and assists in abundance and generally being a thorn in the side of opposition defences.
On the receiving end of Hazard’s attacks on Wednesday will be Juanfran, a full back who epitomises consistency. The 32-year-old’s level-headed approach to defending could potentially nullify the otherwise dramatic effect Hazard will have on the game, dispossessing the Belgian and helping to launch the Atletico counter-attack.
3. Alvaro Morata vs Diego Godin
Alvaro Morata has hit the ground running in the Premier League and has experience playing against Atletico’s back line in his Real Madrid days. Going into the fixture in such great from can only spell trouble for the Spaniard’s old rivals, especially as Morata has a record of creating or scoring 1.3 goals per game so far this season.
However, so far this campaign Morata is yet to come up against a defender of Diego Godin’s calibre. Hard in the tackle, threatening in the air and possessing aggression in abundance, the Uruguayan’s ferocious, no-nonsense approach to defending could be enough to shutout Chelsea’s newfound star striker.