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CHELSEA v Atletico Madrid: Champions League Preview

Date: Wednesday 17th March 2021

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

Tonight’s game sees us take on Atletico Madrid, in the second leg of our last-16 Champions League tie. The first leg in Romania a couple of week’s ago finished 0-1 to us, courtesy of a stunning goal from Giroud, which we managed to celebrate about five minutes after it hit the back of the net.

Despite expectations being raised with wins against Liverpool and Everton, we come into tonight’s game off the back of a frustrating game against Leeds in the Premier League at the weekend, where we failed to find the net but had a fifth consecutive clean sheet to celebrate. Thanks to results going largely our way, we have remained 4th in the table, albeit hanging on a bit right now.

Tonight’s opponents remain top of La Liga but also come into tonight’s game with a 0-0 behind them at the weekend, against Getafe. Atletico have failed to progress past the quarter-final stage four seasons in a row but did put Liverpool out at this stage of the competition last season. Chelsea, of course, won the Champions League in 2011-12, but have not progressed past the last-16 stage since 2013-14.

With our 1-0 advantage from the away leg, Atletico will have to open up and attack a bit tonight, so that could go one of two ways: they’ll either do what others have struggled to do lately, and breach our defence, or leave themselves open trying. They do welcome back Trippier, Carrasco and Gimenez though, so they won’t be the same side we played in Romania, whilst for us, Mason Mount is likely to be a big miss.

Tough one tonight.

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says Atletico is one of the teams to give away the fewest chances in the whole of Europe so it’s very important to be patient and keep this level going. We have a big respect for them because we are playing against the leaders in Spain and we did an outstanding job in Bucharest. We need to be focused, play a high-intensity match and play with hunger, aggression and a high level. With Simeone, they are one of the toughest teams to beat, this is their characteristic – discipline, hard-working and organised defence. They have incredible quality to attack and to play a possession game, they are a complete squad.”

Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone, meanwhile, says Joao Felix, as we have always mentioned, is a really important player. He is going to play from the beginning. Joao has had a really high-quality start to the season. He is the talk of our team and we need this player. All footballers have different stages throughout their professional career, especially when they are young, where they dip. But as you heard from him there is nothing more needed from his personality. Ahead of the Champions League and La Liga matches, we have to ensure that as a 21-year-old that he has that will that he needs to have to reach the point where he needs to be.

Chelsea don’t have a weakness. The only thing is they don’t know what can happen from a negative point of view – they have not had a negative result yet. We don’t know how they will approach it, but I know what we want, which is to win.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, Thiago Silva (thigh) and Tammy Abraham (ankle) are both out, whilst Mason Mount and Jorginho are suspended.

For Atletico Madrid, Kieran Trippier, Yannick Carrasco and Jose Gimenez are all back after missing the first leg and Joao Felix will start.

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Werner; Giroud

ATLETICO MADRID (Possible line-up): Oblak; Trippier, Gimenez, Savic, Lodi; Koke; Felix, Llorente, Saul, Correa; Suarez

LAST MEETING

Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea (23rd February 2021)

CURRENT FORM (CL)

CHELSEA: WWWWDW

ATLETICO MADRID: WDDDWL

OTHER STUFF

  • Atletico Madrid have lost three Champions League matches against Chelsea
  • Atletico Madrid have won just two of their past 10 away Champions League knockout matches (drawn two, lost six).
  • Chelsea have never been eliminated in a European two-legged knockout tie after winning the first leg away from home
  • Atletico Madrid have a 50% progression rate in the European Cup/Champions League after losing the first leg of knockout ties.

PREDICTION

Sportsmole: Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid

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