Champions League Group D
Venue: Vicente Calderon Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 3 Nov 2009
Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Tonight sees us take on Atletico Madrid with new manager Quique Sanchez Flores in situ. Bottom of group D and languishing around the relegation zone in La Liga, it’s no surprise they’ve lost their manager since we beat them at Stamford Bridge.
Newly installed Sanchez Flores, is certainly going into this one in a positive frame of mind, stating “It’s a good thing to have to play these two matches because the fans will have to come to the stadium and be very positive. Tomorrow, for instance, the fans will really have to be behind us to make it possible for us to win and that will be positive for the players and their mindset. From a psychological point of view it would be very important to win these next two games. First of all because it would give the team a lifeline in both competitions, but also because it would be good for the players. Chelsea is a match that we could win. We really have to think we can win it, because we have to be positive and we have to feel we can win it.”
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti seems to rate his opposing manager, and ahead of their meeting, says “Quique has experience with Valencia and he’ll surely do a good job at Atlético. The ‘rojiblanco’ side has good players in defence, such as Ujfalusi, and has plenty of quality in attack with Maxi Rodríguez, Forlán and Agüero. They have the squad to get out of the poor moment they’re going through.” As for Chelsea, and the Champions League itself, the Chelsea boss says “It’s the most important title of the year. It was a very important moment when I won it as a player and as a coach. I don’t think that it is necessary to win it for Chelsea to become a grand club, as we’re already an important club, although winning it would obviously be marvelous. The team is playing and working very well. I’m happy with my players’ attitude and I hope to continue like this. It’s not easy to follow in that vein, as we’re facing tough opponents, but the group is responding.”
Having served his time for ‘that night’ last season, Didier Drogba is once again available for selection. Ancelotti may well have wanted to rest him ahead of the weekend’s game against United, especially with us sitting pretty comfortably in the group but with Salomon Kalou carrying a slight knock, Drogba might play some part in tonight’s game. Ashley Cole (ankle), Yuri Zhirkov (knee), John Obi Mikel (knee) and Jose Bosingwa (knee) have all been out injured and would face late fitness tests if considered.
Chelsea haven’t conceded in the Champions League this season, whereas Atletico haven’t won in their last six Champions League games, or in their last six games against English clubs – what’s the odds on a banana skin here?