Diego Simeone‘s side have been struggling defensively, having conceded at least a goal in their last seven matches. It is the club’s worst run without a clean sheet since Simeone’s appointment a decade agao.
With one win in four games, Atletico lead at the top of La Liga was cut to three points, though with a game in hand.
So, what can Simeone do to stop a Chelsea team who have won five and drawn two of seven games under new manager Thomas Tuchel?
The defensive woes have coincided with Stefan Savic and Mario Hermoso being out injured. Other players have been ruled out with the coronavirus, including Renan Lodi, while Kieran Trippier remains banned following a betting investigation.
Chelsea Train Ahead Of Atletico Madrid Tie
Simeone has used versatile midfielder Marcos Llorente to accomdate the absences and the same player is expected to play a right wing-back on Tuesday. Youngster Ricard Sanchez is another option.
“Llorente is the player who better occupies that position,” Simeone said. “We also have Ricard, who is young. We have time until tomorrow’s match to decide what’s the best option.”
Up front is a different matter with Simeone confident Luis Suarez will make things difficult for Chelsea despite his recent scoring drought in Europe’s top competition.
Suarez has scored 16 times in his debut season with Atletico to propel them to the top of La Liga but he has yet to find the net in four Champions League games for the club.
“Luis generates fear in rivals no matter what competition it is,” Simeone said. “He has skills and qualities that attract a lot of attention from any rival. We’ll talk about his problems scoring away from home when we go to London, but tomorrow is a home game for us.”
Atletico Madrid predicted XI: Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Llorente, Kondogbia, Koke, Saul, Lodi; Felix, Suarez