The second leg between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid - The elite defenses of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea canceled each other out as their semifinal first leg ended in a scoreless stalemate. But with injuries and suspensions hitting the blue shirts at the worst time, the advantage will definitely be with Atletico heading to the second leg in London.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho went with his tried-and-tested defensive gameplan in his team’s road leg, but he may need a rethink their tactics for the second leg at home after his defense and midfield was ravaged by injury and suspension.
The Blues will surely be without first-choice goalie Petr Cech (dislocated shoulder) and John Terry (foot), who were both injured in the first leg, as well as key midfielders Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel (both suspended) for the return leg.
Due to all of those missing players, Mourinho will have a threadbare squad to work with. He’ll need to shuffle the deck in midfield and defense, but leading scorers Eden Hazard (18 goals) and Samuel Eto’o (12 goals), who both missed the first leg due to injuries, should return to bolster their attack.
Since suffering defeat to Basel in the very first game of the group stage, Chelsea has gone a perfect 4-0-0 at home in the Champions League and kept a clean sheet in all four wins. However, Chelsea recently lost at Stamford Bridge to bottom club Sunderland in the league, snapping Mourinho’s 77-game home unbeaten run as Chelsea boss.
It’s a busy week for Chelsea. The team is set to play a critical fixture against Liverpool on Sunday that will go a long way in determining the final standings of the Premiership. Got a feel for the team?
Atletico Madrid were the aggressors for much of their 0-0 first leg draw at their home ground. Atleti fired 25 shots on Chelsea’s goal and enjoyed 69% possession. However, only four of those 25 shots hit the target as the Spaniards failed to capitalize on their possession advantage with goals.
Atletico is much more adept at counterattacking than breaking down the opposition with loads of possession, but with Chelsea missing key personnel in the second leg, the onus will be on manager Diego Simeone to take advantage by making more attacking moves.
At the back, Atletico remains incredibly solid. The first leg draw was their fifth straight game without conceding a goal in all competitions; they’ve allowed just five in the Champions League. The Spaniards are also the only team in the competition yet to experience defeat (eight wins and three draws in 11 games).
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