Guillem Balague: Chelsea have lost spark, Atletico are favourites!

Arda Turan Atletico

Guillem Balague believes that Chelsea may have little left in the tank after a long domestic season.

"Atletico Madrid against Chelsea is a very interesting semi-final," wrote La Liga expert Guillem Balague in his Sky Sports column ahead of the Premier League side's visit of the Vicente Calderon later this evening to contend the first leg of their Champions League clash in the final four.

Chelsea have had a number of star performers throughout the domestic season thus far, including centre back partnership Gary Cahill and John Terry, trick-filled forward Eden Hazard and flourishing Brazilian Oscar, however, Balague implies that the reliance on a core number of stars could lead to burnout during the business end of the season - much like it did when the club had already wrapped up the Premier League title in 2005 but failed to oversee Liverpool in Europe.

"The little details - such as who takes the free-kick or a mistake in a pass - will decide this tie, which is very, very equal," said Balague. "Atletico Madrid are a team that hardly concede and they always seem to score. Chelsea also rarely concede but it seems like they have lost a spark at the wrong time.

"It reminds me of 2005 when, against Liverpool in the semi-final of the Champions League, Chelsea arrived far too tired having won the league with more or less the same team playing every week and they struggled to make an impact at the end of the season.

"It seems like this could be the case again so for me Atletico are favourites."

Chelsea take on Atletico away this evening, prior to a trip to Anfield in a potential title decider on Sunday and the return leg against Atletico at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday week.

Chelsea have lost two from their last four in English competition and squeaked past Paris Saint Germain in the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League after succumbing to a 3-1 loss at the Parc des Princes.

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