Real Madrid lie in wait for either Chelsea or Atletico Madrid, with the two teams clashing at Stamford Bridge tonight in a bid to reach the 2014 Champions League final.
Will Jose get the chance to settle old scores with Real?
There could be some perfect symmetry involved if Chelsea were to progress at the expense of their Spanish opponents, with Jose Mourinho then facing former club Real Madrid, while Carlo Ancelotti will also have a score to settle with the Blues after previously guiding them to a Premier League title success.
The first leg clash between Atletico and Chelsea was a tight affair, with Mourinho setting his team up in a typically defensive fashion for a significant away encounter, although the Portuguese would have left the Vicente Calderon disappointed not to have notched an away goal.
It means that the Blues simply cannot afford to concede against the Mattress Makers this evening, with Diego Simeone’s well-drilled side happy to play the role of counter-attackers against their English opponents. Especially when you consider they have a predator by the name of Diego Costa who is on Chelsea’s hit list this summer.
We should note that Atletico eliminated Barcelona in the last round of the competition and a repeat of the 1-1 draw achieved in the Nou Camp would be enough to line up a famous Madrid derby in the capital of Portugal.
Hazard and Terry set to return for crunch clash
We can expect a completely different Chelsea team from the one that claimed a 2-0 win at Anfield on Sunday, with John Terry having made a rapid recovery from the ankle injury sustained in the first leg. Eden Hazard is also set to start the match, with Samuel Eto’o likely to be risked after a knee complaint.
Mark Schwarzer deputises for Petr Cech between the sticks, with Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah all missing due to suspension or injury. However, Ramires will be available despite his Premier League four-game ban.
Costa is the Atleti danger man and will spearhead the attack, although the suspended Gabi is missing from midfield, while Javi Manquillo is struggling to be fit in defence.
Chelsea can go through tonight – but it will be tight
Jose Mourinho’s teamtalk will go something like this. Don’t concede against this team! An away goal for Simeone’s men would need Chelsea needing to score twice and Atletico have kept a clean sheet in their past six matches.
Mourinho might have sent his team out of the traps flying when they thrashed Arsenal at the Bridge, although this will be a cat and mouse encounter which will involve getting Hazard and Oscar on the ball to make things happen against disciplined opponents.
It’s likely we will see a low-scoring encounter and perfectly possible that no goals will be scored by the ninetieth minute, resulting in extra-time and potentially penalties. However, this is a Chelsea side with a big-game mentality, having beaten Liverpool and Manchester City home and away in the Premier League this season. Eliminating Paris Saint-Germain after losing the first leg 3-1 was no mean feat either.
Chelsea to qualify @ even money
No Goalscorer @ 13/2
Under 1.5 Goals @ 33/20
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 7:45pm
Source: Sky Sports