Chelsea v Atletico Madrid
Live on BTSport 3. Kick-off 7.45
SINCE suffering a 3-0 reverse against Roma in the Champions League Chelsea have gone on a run of five wins in six games, the other being a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Their hopes of clawing back an eleven point deficit to Manchester City in the Premier League looks near impossible but in the Champions League it's been a different story.
They've already secured qualification from Group C, but can be overhauled by Roma tonight if they fail to win. That would have a significant bearing on who they'll meet in the next round. Bear with me…
Teams from the same country can't meet each other in the Round of 16 and currently the other four English teams in the competition lead their groups. If that remains the case after Matchday 6 then, should Chelsea finish second, their only possible opponents in the next round would currently be PSG, Barcelona or Besiktas – all of whom have more or less won their groups.
With Roma at home to Qarabag, the Blues shouldn't be leaving anything to chance tonight.
The most likely outcome for Atletico tonight is to drop in to the Europa League. As well as winning at Stamford Bridge they'd also need a favour from Qarabag in Rome. A forlorn hope indeed. Of course Diego Simeone is not the type to give up even the most hopeless of causes so expect Atleti to at least give it a go at Stamford Bridge.
Although they've not been at their best this season they're just six points off the pace in La Liga and like Chelsea on a run of five wins (and a draw) from their last six. They've also hit a bit of goalscoring form, with 12 in their last four.
Antonio Conte is widely expected to make some changes tonight and that could see the likes of Morata and Kante sit this one out. However I think they'll have enough in reserve to get the win they need. They won earlier in Madrid earlier in the campaign and I can't help but think the Atletico Madrid players will have already come to terms with a run at the Europa League.
With both teams in decent scoring form I'd rather be on over 2.5 goals than under at odds of 21/10 at Betfair.