Antonio Conte will take his Chelsea side to Atletico Madrid as the pair clash for their second Champions League fixture in Group C.
Here we look at three key talking points ahead of the game.
Considering their consistently awesome defensive record, it’s tempting to conclude that Atletico Madrid will never concede a goal at their new Metropolitano Stadium.
The first two visitors have come away empty-handed, as Malaga and Sevilla were beaten 1-0 and 2-0 respectively with Antoine Griezmann getting on target in both games.
Chelsea, of course, are a different kettle of fish and with a glittering array of expensive attacking talent within their ranks, the London club will strongly fancy their chances of becoming the first visiting scorers at Atletico’s new home.
Given Atletico’s almost tragic troubles in this competition against Real Madrid, however, surely the best bet is that former Los Blancos star Alvaro Morata will be the man to get his name on the scoresheet as he returns to his home city. And that, you can be sure, would go down particularly badly with the locals…
In January, Atletico fans will be able to enjoy the sight of returning hero Diego Costa lining up with shining star Griezmann in attack, and the potential of their silk and steel partnership will make Diego Simeone’s men a force to be very much feared in the latter stages of the competition.
For now, however, Costa will be watching from the sidelines as the club complete their FIFA transfer ban, and Simeone must decide who will be his first-choice back-up to support the undroppable Griezmann up front.
He’s certainly not short of options, with veteran Fernando Torres joined by pacy Frenchman Kevin Gameiro and a pair of elusive Argentines, Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa, and Simeone’s team selection will probably tell us who, in his mind, is his preferred choice right now.
So far this season, none of those players have really made the position their own, although Correa has been the most convincing claimant by registering three goals in his four league appearances – Torres, Gameiro and Vietto, by contrast, are all waiting to break their duck for the campaign.
A key component of Atletico’s success in the last few years has been understated central midfielder Gabi, who is extremely unlucky never to have earned international recognition with Spain after captaining Los Rojiblancos to one La Liga title and two Champions League finals.
Now, though, Gabi is 34 years old and it appears his influence is gradually starting to wane. He has played fewer minutes so far this season than four other midfielders, with Thomas Partey being promoted to team up with Koke, Saul and Yannick Carrasco in the centre of the field.
Ghana international Partey has taken a while to reach maturity since he progressed through the club’s youth system. After spending full seasons on loan with Mallorca and then Almeria, he returned to Atletico and made a handful of appearances in the last couple of years.
This term, however, he has taken a big step forward with starts in five of Atletico’s six games, playing the full 90 minutes in the opening group game at Roma. If he is selected ahead of Gabi on Wednesday, it could mark a symbolic passing of the torch.
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