Chelsea v Atletico Madrid talking points: Two of a kind Hazard and Griezmann clash

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Chelsea head into their final Group C game in the Champions League with Atletico Madrid in top spot.

A win for the Blues at Stamford Bridge will guarantee them top spot.

Here are a few talking points ahead of the encounter.

IS WINNING OVER-RATED?

In a peculiar way, it may not be in either teams’ interests to go all-out for three points on Tuesday night. Atletico need nothing less than a win if they are to have any hope of qualification but is that really what they want?

Of course, the financial implications of advancing from the group stages of the Champions League make it more than worth their while but in terms of achieving success this season, elimination may not be the worst thing for their campaign.

Atletico have struggled to find their best form this season but so have Barcelona and Real Madrid. A recent turn in results has seen them edge closer to the Catalans in the La Liga race, one they’re capable of winning if it gets their full attention.

It’s hard to envisage Diego Simeone’s side winning the Champions League given their flaws but run in the league if left unimpeded by continental distractions, is achievable.

Meanwhile, should Chelsea win and top the group, their potential opponents in the next round include Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus or Sporting Lisbon, Sevilla, Porto or Leipzig. Maybe being runners-up isn’t all that bad.

HAZARD AND GRIEZMANN ARE TWO OF A KIND

The last time these two sides met, Eden Hazard was making only his second start since returning from injury and Antoine Griezmann was in a patchy run of form at best. While both made contributions on the night, they have stepped it up since, and have started to return to their best.

Several similarities can be drawn to the two attackers. Both are diminutive, possess phenomenal bursts of acceleration, excellent touch and close control and a penchant for goal-scoring. They’re also incredibly intelligent and creative.

Hazard’s recent change in position to playing just off the striker has only extended the comparison between the two with the Frenchman also doing his best work operating behind another centre foward.

With the two clashing once more, it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top now that they’re back to their old selves.

Back to his best: Eden Hazard

Back to his best: Eden Hazard

CHELSEA LOOK TO BURST ATLETICO’S BUBBLE.. AGAIN

In the earlier fixture at the Metropolitano, Chelsea snatched a 2-1 victory as Michy Batshuayi scored the winner in the 94th minute.

That ended Atletico’s 11-match unbeaten run. Since then, they’ve gone 13 games unbeaten and will be heading into this meeting with the Blues with a hint of trepidation. The fact that they are yet to score away from home in the Champions League this season doesn’t bode well for them either.

Simeone’s side have only just begun to get their mojo back and a defeat now could do some serious damage to their confidence.

Most popular

Related Tags

Mourinho holds all the cards: United talking points ahead of CSKA clash

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester United will hope to follow their crucial 3-1 win away to Arsenal with a positive result against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The visitors will need a win or draw and hope that the result from FC Basel’s clash with Benfica goes their way as well if they are to progress from Group A and make the Champions League round of 16.

Here are a few talking points ahead of the encounter.

OLD TRAFFORD FORTRESS

Louis van Gaal laid the foundation and brick by brick, Jose Mourinho has rebuilt Old Trafford’s aura since. A fortress once decimated during David Moyes’ brief spell has been restored to its former glory.

It’s taken time but Mourinho instilled in United an air of invincibility while playing on home soil, much like he did at Chelsea when they took to the pitch at Stamford Bridge.

Avoid defeat against CSKA, and United will have matched a club record 40 successive home games unbeaten in all competitions. With the Manchester Derby to take centre stage at the Theatre of Dreams over the weekend, such a record would hold the Red Devils in good stead.

MOURINHO HOLDS ALL THE CARDS

Despite the defeat to Basel in the previous group game, United head into this fixture in pole position. Barring an unlikely defeat of huge margins and specifically unfortunate sequence of results, Mourinho’s men will take their place in the next round of the competition.

The hosts can play with freedom with that in mind and will also have their best player in Paul Pogba lead them out as his red card against Arsenal rules him out of the derby on Sunday and the two following Premier League games.

Meanwhile, while coming into the game off the back of a 6-0 win against Tosno, will be without their key men as Pontus Wernbloom and Bibras Natcho both serve one-game bans while Alexei Berezutski has a broken leg.

Wernbloom’s absence will be a big blow with creativity in short supply in the CSKA ranks. Much will rest on Brazlian forward Vitinho is the visitors are going to pull off an unlikely win.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

PLAYING TIME

With qualification virtually in the bag and winning the group not deemed as important given the quality of opposition destined to finish runners-up in the group stages and placed in Pot 2, Mourinho has the opportunity to rest a few players.

Tuesday’s game also gives him the chance to hand a few others some much-needed playing time. Luke Shaw is one who is perpetually being denied minutes on the pitch while Phil Jones who has been the team’s defensive stalwart has returned to training. Will he be given a run out ahead of the derby on Sunday?

With Pogba now likely to feature, another midfielder can be afforded a rest while it will be interesting to see if Mourinho persists with Romelu Lukaku or plays Marcus Rashford up front instead to give the Belgian some time off.

Much of his selection will be made with one eye on the derby as United seek to cut Manchester City’s eight-point lead at the top to five on Sunday.

Most popular

Related Tags

Related Sections

Scout report of Man United, Real Madrid target Oberlin

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Every week we pick out one under-23 player from around Europe and analyse their performance to provide you with an in-depth scouting report.

This week, it’s time to shine the spotlight on Switzerland and Basel youngster Dimitri Oberlin, whose side hosted Manchester United in the Champions League.

Here’s an analysis of his performance as Basel shocked United in a 1-0 win.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 0

Assists – 0

Shots – 3

Shots on target – 1

Pass Accuracy – 86%

Key Passes – 1

Dribbles – 0

EFFECTIVENESS

It was a difficult afternoon for Oberlin, especially in the first half as United dominated possession and Basel were largely reduced to sending long balls towards the young striker – a tactic that was never going to work against United’s defence.

He grew into the game in the second half, along with his team, but fluffed his lines with his most presentable chance, failing to get a good connection when played through in the box and allowing the recovering defender to block his shot.

KEY MOMENTS

26th min, CHANCE: Oberlin’s work off the ball created a chance for his team, as he dispossessed Marcos Rojo high up the pitch to start a counter for Basel. Unfortunately for the young striker, the United defender recovered to cut out the cross when Oberlin was waiting to tap it in.

41st min, SHOT: This was a chance for Oberlin to steal the headlines. It didn’t quite work out that way, however, as the youngster’s free-kick flew over the crossbar.

72nd min, SHOT: Oberlin’s clearest chance of the night. A Basel counter led to the Swiss man being slipped into space in the box, but he scuffed his shot and Rojo’s brilliant recovering tackle blocked the attempt anyway.

VERDICT: 6/10

Oberlin wasn’t given an easy brief on Wednesday, left largely isolated leading the Basel line. But even with that in mind, he failed to make much of an impression. His link-up play left a lot to be desired and he failed to hold up the ball well when Basel tried to relieve the United pressure in the first half.

The 20-year-old had a decent chance in the second half, but scuffed his shot when a better connection could have given his side the lead. Luckily for him, when an even better chance was presented to one of his teammates, Michael Lang was on hand to give Basel the shock win.

Most popular

Related Tags