PMB: Chelsea v Atletico - history and tactics

We complete our preview for the game with a glance at the past and a look ahead at tonight from club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton…



Chelsea and Atletico meet tonight for the seventh occasion in European competition. The first match at Stamford Bridge between the two sides came on 21 October 2009, the third match of the Champions League group stage.

This was the Blues’ Double season under Carlo Ancelotti, and his powerful team made light work of Abel Resino’s Madrilenos. Sergio Aguero was largely a peripheral figure against centre-backs Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry – forcing one good save from Petr Cech – while goalkeeper David De Gea was an unused substitute.

Salmon Kalou missed a great early chance from inside the box when put through by Michael Ballack, but made amends with a volley from Ashley Cole’s driven cross just before the break, then headed in Frank Lampard’s corner in the second half.

Lampard then eased clear of Jimmy Greaves’ goals tally with his 133rd for Chelsea – a powerful, low strike (pictured below), and Luis Perea’s own-goal completed the 4-0 scoreline. The result made it three straight wins in a group the Blues would ultimately win. Resino was sacked in the aftermath, replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores.

This season in the reverse fixture, Chelsea became the first visiting team to score and to win at the Mattressmakers’ new Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Eden Hazard shone on only his second start of the season, and Antonio Conte’s decision to deploy the Belgian behind former Real man Alvaro Morata in a 3-5-1-1 reaped dividends.

Between them, the pair had 10 attempts on goal, and combined for the Blues’ equaliser. Hazard lured three Atletico players towards him down the left and delivered a splendid curling cross that the Spaniard glanced brilliantly past Jan Oblak.

Earlier Antoine Griezmann had converted from the spot, very much against the run of play, after David Luiz was adjudged to have tugged the short of Lucas Hernandez just before the interval. The return to parity came in another good spell for the visitors.

Cesc Fabregas and Morata had both gone tantalisingly close to putting the Blues ahead before the match was won with the last kick.

A remarkably patient build-up from a Chelsea free-kick eventually led to Marcos Alonso’s driven lay-back from the right and substitute Michy Batshuayi’s assured side-foot finish.

Atletico had been unbeaten in their previous 11 at home in Europe, and Chelsea remain the only team to beat Atletico in their new home.

Prior to this season, the most recent meeting at the Bridge between Chelsea and Atletico was in the Champions League semi-final in 2014. After a 0-0 draw in Madrid in the first leg, the visitors won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Playing for Atletico that evening were Thibaut Courtois (on loan from Chelsea), Filipe Luis, Tiago and Diego Costa, while Fernando Torres was in Chelsea’s starting 11.

The two sides also met in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco. Atletico, helped by a first-half hat-trick by Falcao, won 4-1. Gary Cahill scored on 74 minutes after Miranda had made it 4-0 on the hour.oal. 


Our previous meetings

21 October 2009, Champions League group stage            

Chelsea…..……..…..4        Atletico Madrid………..……0

Kalou 40, 52

Lampard 69

Perea og 90

            Att: 39,997


3 November 2009, Champions League group stage

Atletico Madrid.…..2      Chelsea………..……2

Aguero 66, 90+1            Drogba 82, 88

            Att: 36,284


31 August 2012, Super Cup (Monaco)

Atletico Madrid.…..4      Chelsea………..……1

Falcao 6, 19, 45              Cahill 75

Miranda 60

              Att: 14,312


22 April 2014, Champions League semi-final first leg

Atletico Madrid.…..0      Chelsea………..……0

              Att: 52,560


30 April 2014, Champions League semi-final second leg  

Chelsea…..……..…..1        Atletico Madrid………..…3

Torres 35                           Adrian Lopez 44

                                          Diego Costa 60 pen

                                          Arda Turan 71

              Att: 37,918



Chelsea’s biggest home win in the Champions League

21/10/2014        Chelsea 6-0 Maribor      Group stage

12/09/2017        Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag      Group stage


Atletico’s biggest away win in the Champions League

25/09/96            Widzew Lodz 1-4 Atletico            group stage





•            Following Saturday’s beating of Newcastle, Antonio Conte’s side have notched up 51 goals in all competitions this season. Alvaro Morata’s opener was header number 13 for the west Londoners – three more than were managed over the whole of the last campaign.

•            The former Real striker looked to have the speed and physical advantage to cause problems in Madrid, and Atletico were also powerless at times to stop the then not fully-fit Eden Hazard. Diego Simeone may have special measures to deal with the Blues’ front two in London.

•            Not too much could be read into the substituting of Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Andreas Christensen at the weekend, and resting the likes of Gary Cahill, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Pedro and Davide Zappacosta, as the schedule is especially intense this month, with the visit to West Ham only four days away.

•            Conte may maintain the 4-5-1-1 that has brought him regular success this season, including the only victory for a visiting side at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano. However, the Italian could ring the changes and opt for a ‘false nine’, restoring Willian and Pedro to the starting line-up alongside Hazard.

•            Zappacosta might also return as Victor Moses played his first full 90 minutes since injury at the weekend. Conte will be mindful that the Nigeria winger’s dynamism caused the hosts’ rearguard problems in the first meeting.

•            Diego Simeone made a rare deviation from his preferred 4-4-2 for the reverse of this fixture, setting up in a 4-3-3 with Diego Carrasco alongside Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann. Correa was dispossessed six times by the Blues, while the depleted midfield meant danger man Hazard found space and drew several players towards whenever he was in possession.

•            Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres have partnered Griezmann in a two-man attack recently. Simeone needs to win, and may gamble on the same approach, with the more attacking, less defensive Carrasco again in the line-up.

•            Griezmann appears back to his best, netting four times in three appearances. It is a turnaround from the crowd’s jeering of the France international as he was substituted during the 0-0 against Real. ‘In my home I was taught while someone is part of the family you stand up for them until the death,’ responded Simeone in his player’s defence. His support seems to have been rewarded. 

 Antoine Griezmann up against Chelsea in September's meeting

•            Central defender Stefan Savic is available after serving a one-game suspension on matchday five. Croatia international Sime Vrsaljko may also step in for the vastly more experienced right-back Juanfran, freeing up central midfielder Thomas Partey, who has deputised for the injured 32-year-old in recent matches.





David Luiz (knee)


Kenedy (muscle)

Charly Musonda (knee)





Juanfran (hamstring)


Augusto Fernandez (fitness)