2. How neutral is neutral?
Because of various travel restrictions in place, this match will have to be played at the neutral venue of Arena Nationala in Budapest. It is an annoying inconvenience for both teams but, given Chelsea will still get to host at Stamford Bridge (at least for now), Atletico will feel the most affronted.
Of course, in this season, how much of an advantage is involved with playing at home? No fans in stadiums has made many games neutral in all but infrastructure. There is an old adage that in a home stadium the players get used to certain reference points but compared to fan atmosphere that is likely minimal.
Then you add in how this is, on paper, Atletico’s home game and how they know the Blues will still get to play at Stamford Bridge. For many teams that might be neither here nor there but for a team like Atletico Madrid that might be motivation. Simeone likes to hype his team up as underdogs even if that isn’t what they really are and an us against the world mentality is powerful. Just ask Chelsea, Jose Mourinho built his trophy cabinet on that mentality.
So while it is a neutral venue on paper, it is only neutral if both teams treat it that way. For Chelsea, it’s like an away game regardless but Atletico Madrid could treat it a few different ways. How they do so might determine how this one plays out.