Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid: Complete Preview, Details, Predictions and More
Many will remember Chelsea's thrilling penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final and the class and skill that Atletico Madrid displayed in their 3-0 demolition of Athletic Bilbao.
Both teams boast strong attacking talent in their lineup and will be looking for a good result here to build on the good work they have done so far in the English Premier League and La Liga respectively.
Will the Champions League winners prevail, or can the likes of Radamel Falcao inspire Atletico Madrid to a thrilling victory? We've got a complete preview of the match right here including all the details, possible starting lineups and latest team news ahead of the 2012 European Super Cup.
Date: Friday, August 31
Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Stade Louis II, Monaco
Live Stream: Sky Sports 2 (UK); Fox Soccer Channel (US)
Road to the Cup
Chelsea qualified top of Group E in the 2012 Champions League—losing just one match in their six group-round encounters. They went on to come from 3-1 down in their opening leg against Napoli to qualify for the quarterfinals—progressing through 5-4 on aggregate.
The London club then beat Benfica over both legs before a thrilling semifinal clash against the highly-favored Barcelona—whom many expected to run away with the Champions League competition. But with just 10 men at Camp Nou, the Blues went on to win 3-2 on aggregate and progress through to the final, where they defeated Bayern Munich in a penalty shootout.
Atletico Madrid also qualified top of their group in the Europa league—picking up 13 points from their six matches to sit top of Group I. And after from a 1-0 victory in the group stage over Celtic, Madrid would not drop another match throughout the entire competition.
Latest Team News
The Daily Mail is reporting that new transfer signings Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta will both be included in the Blues' squad for the European Super Cup, though it is not yet known whether either player will feature in the starting lineup. Frank Lampard is also expected to start.
Captain John Terry is still serving his suspension from the semifinal against Barcelona, so he will be absent from this clash.
What They're Saying
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has highlighted just how important the Super Cup is to Chelsea—stating via The Daily Mail that the fixture is more than just a friendly and match that doesn't really matter to the London club.
We are happy we are going into the Super Cup with three wins and everybody fit, and hopefully we can win another international trophy for this football club.
[I will take it] very seriously. It is not a friendly. It is a European trophy that we want to win. [I will] not be resting people.
New summer signing Eden Hazard also commented on the fixture—stating that winning the trophy will not be easy for the Blues (via UEFA's website, h/t Goal).
They [Atletico Madrid] are a great team with great players. I hope it will be a good game that we win, to claim my first trophy for Chelsea. But we expect nothing less than a tough match against a great team.
It will not be easy. On a personal level, I hope to play as much as possible, do my best when I am on the pitch, gain the confidence of the coach and repay that confidence.
And just in case you weren't completely convinced as to how seriously Chelsea were taking the Super Cup, goalkeeper Petr Cech also weighed in on the matter (via Sulia):
It is important because you want to win every trophy that you are involved in, and this is a prestigious cup.
This is the first time for myself; it'll be the first time I think for everybody involved—apart from Roberto Di Matteo who played it as a player.
So for all of us, it's the first time, and we want to confirm the position of reigning European champions—that would be great to go there and get a cup.
However, standing in their way will be Atletico Madrid, who will be led by striker Radamel Falco. The Colombian international recently told AS (via ESPN Star) that the Spanish club are more than ready for the fixture and know that they are capable of defeating the London club.
I am very happy with the game we just won. Our play during the victory was overwhelming. I have always said that I [am] happy at Atletico Madrid, and now want to exceed the number of goals that I managed in my first season in Spain.
The team is happy and well, and we will be going to try and win the Super Cup this Friday.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Player to Watch: Petr Cech (Chelsea)
Picking one player to watch is very difficult for this fixture, with both sides boasting plenty of great talent in their lineups—particularly on the offensive end, which is why I'm leaning towards Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech as a key player in this one.
The 30-year-old is definitely experienced on football's biggest stages by now, and as seen in the Blues' Champions League run last season, he is crucial to any chance of their side succeeding. With Terry out and Azpilicueta a possible late inclusion for Di Matteo, Chelsea's defense could be susceptible to Madrid's quality attack and thus Cech will become of absolute importance to the Blues.
He kept out Lionel Messi in the Champions League semifinal; he saved a penalty from Arjen Robben in the final. Can Cech make it three from three and keep Falcao quiet in the European Super Cup?
Chelsea have been strong this season—sitting atop the English Premier League and coming into this one with their attack firing on all cylinders. Eden Hazard has the team, and particularly Fernando Torres, playing quality football and they will no doubt be a tough side to beat in this one.
The Blues' defense isn't as strong as their season suggests—almost dropping points to Reading and Wigan Athletic as well—and they will be left wanting at times from Madrid's attack in this match. Having said that, they should do enough to hold firm and bag themselves a goal at the other end.
Di Matteo's men were defensively inclined throughout the Champions League and I expect that to continue in this one. They will hold strong at the back—getting plenty of help in defense from the midfield—and then pushing forward when the time is right.
It will be tough, gritty and not the flowing, goal scoring football that we might expect, but Chelsea will come away with the victory and trophy in this one for me.
Chelsea 1, Atletico Madrid 0
What do you think will happen in the European Super Cup?
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