Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea faces an out-of-sorts Atlético Madrid outfit tonight but they’ll need to be at their best to get a positive result against Diego Simeone’s battle-hardened team.
Atlético takes on Chelsea in Bucharest in a round of 16 first-leg contest that will be decided by small margins, if at all.
Chelsea has conceded just twice in seven games under the stewardship of Thomas Tuchel, while no team has conceded fewer goals in LaLiga this season than Atlético, with just 16 shipped in 23 matches.
However, The Rojiblancos have faltered in recent weeks winning just one of their last four top-flight matches and uncharacteristically for them, six of their last seven matches have featured goals at both ends.
Chelsea is unbeaten under new boss Tuchel but a round of 16 Champions League clash against Diego Simeone’s team is an almighty early test of his credentials and step-up in quality, regardless of the neutral venue and Atlético’s relatively indifferent form.
With Luis Suárez in their ranks (the Uruguayan has scored 16 LaLiga goals in 20 appearances this term) the Blues will need to be wary.
Atléti will be without the key defensive pillar José Giménez who limped off the field against Levante in LaLiga on the weekend. Simeone will also be without talented wide man Yannick Carrasco and fullback Sime Vrsaljko as well as the suspended Kieran Trippier.
Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera is unavailable following a recent positive coronavirus test, but Luis Suárez and João Félix are both available and should provide the firepower up top.
Likely XI (3-5-2):
Oblak; Savić, Felipe, Hermoso; Llorente, Kondogbia, Koke, Saúl, Lodi; Félix, Suárez
Thiago Silva missed Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Southampton at the weekend and the veteran defender will be absent again here. Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic have both travelled following recent issues.
Likely XI (3-4-2-1):
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kanté, Kovačić, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Abraham
🔑 Key OPTA stats
- Atlético Madrid is unbeaten in 13 UEFA Champions League home games (W9, D4)
- Atletico’s last four UCL matches have all featured under 2.5 goals.
- João Félix gave Atlético a halftime lead in their last UCL home game against opposition from a top-five league.
- Chelsea has converted nine (32.14%) of their 28 shots on target recorded during Tuchel’s regime to date.