Beware Atletico Madrid
Any successful military campaign requires knowing your adversary inside out and not underestimating them.
With just a little more than 2 days before we engage Atletico Madrid in Monaco for the UEFA club Super cup trophy I just wanted to drop a few lines on our opponents.
In my mind this is a very big match..it is for a trophy and is the second available of a possible 7 for us this season. We have already lost out on the Community shield..we must not lose out on this chance which comes very rarely because to even have the chance to compete here you must either by the Europa league champion or the Champions league champion. Winning this trophy will immediately place RDM and his crew at some ease as they will already have one trophy for the club cabinet this season but even more important for all our new players it will be a wonderful introduction to the Chelsea tradition of consistently winning silverware. Finally, winning this match come Friday gives us more valid ammunition to label ourselves the pre-eminent club in Europe at the moment no matter what the detractors may say.
We have only won this trophy once before..interestingly enough in another game we played in Monaco and against another Spanish club..the senior Madrid club Real. That was in the glory days of the late 90s with Zola, Puyet, RDM and company. RDM will have the unique opportunity to be one of very few players to win this high honor as both a player and a manager for the top club in Europe bar none.
Before we can make that claim though we must go through Atletico Madrid who are a dangerous side. They have won the Europa league for the second time in the last 3 yrs (no mean feat) and they have done this with two very different squads and different managers. After losing top level talent like Arguero, forlan, siamao etc from their prior championship side as well as changing coaches and facing major monetary challenges that they are back at the summit of the Europa league is remarkable. Their new coach Diego Simeone is a rugged, shrewd Argentinian (former international Player and contemporary of Maradona) and they play an efficient, effective style of football that is reminiscent of Chelsea circa the Mourinho years.
Lest we forget this Atletico Madrid team won the Super cup just ~ 2yrs ago upsetting the then Champions league champs; Inter 2-0..they should not be taken lightly. To win this years Europa league their new face team took apart the impressive Athletic Bilbao team of Bielsa in a comprehensive 3-0 shell lacking with the Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao hitting a brace and so taking the distinction of being top goal scorer for two consecutive years in the Europa league after doing it the year before with Porto. As a warning shot across our path just yesterday they again demolished the same Bilbao team but this time upping the Ante to 4-0 with Falcao this time hitting a hat trick. Thankfully for us one of the main architects of their success last season the Brazilian midfield playmaker Diego is no longer with the side.
Without being boastful I feel we have a better overall team than Atletico and I don`t feel Simeone is a better tactician than RDM but there are a few of their players we must be fully aware of as we line up to take them on this Friday;
1) In goal they will have our own Thibaut Courtious..a truly talented young goal keeper..what he lacks in experience he more than makes up in agility…it will take nothing less than A plus efforts, guile and ruthless efficiency in front of goal from Torres and our other forwards to beat this guy who will be playing with a point to prove to his parent club,
2) In defense one player worthy of mention is the Uruguayan Diego Godin.. a solid non nonsense center back who we flirted with as a possible alternative when we still chasing Gary Cahill..We will need to pressure their defense early and often to try and make them make mistakes but it wont be easy.
3) The forward trio of Diego Costa, Arda turan (the so called Turkish Messi) and the Colombian hit man Falcao. These guys need to be taken very seriously..especially Falcao who will need extra special attention from both of our CBs all match long. To lose sight of that guy for even a second in the 90 minutes of the game is to concede a goal. I personally feel he is the most lethal and complete pure goal scorer right now in European football. Before any one mentions Messi and Ronaldo..please re read what I said.."goal scorer" not player..i am convinced if this guy had the midfield service Messi and Ronaldo do at Barca and Real he would score more goals than they do…he is that dangerous and I rate him very highly. If we can keep him quiet along with Turan I really like our chances on Friday.
For once in a long time we enter a match of this magnitude as the odds on favorite, let us not let our guards down. We cannot afford to mess this chance up. ..We should approach this with all the seriousness and gravity it deserves and give Atletico absolutely no chance or prayer to spring an upset the way they did against Inter a few years back. We must totally boss the midfield the way we did against NewCastle and take our chances when they arise. An early goal and lead would help so we are not chasing the game under pressure. If we play to the level we are capable I see us bringing home to Stamford Bridge the first trophy of this our transitional year..and doing it in some style as well. KTBFFH.