Diego Simeone and Atlético Madrid are next on the horizon. Though there is cause for positivity as Chelsea remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, but put in a subpar performance against Southampton. Three days on from that game however, comes the toughest test yet – a Champions League Round of 16 tie against Atlético Madrid. It’s being played in Romania due to travel restrictions but regardless of the venue this will be a monumental task.
Diego Simeone’s men are ahead of their rivals in La Liga and have only conceded 16 goals all season. They slightly stumbled at the weekend with a shock 2-0 loss but are still favourites for the title. Famed for their stubborn defensive performances, they will go into the game as favourites to progress.
Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea Recent Form
As mentioned, Tuchel’s team remain unbeaten under his tenure, winning five of the last seven. They’ll hope to avoid a repeat showing of Saturday’s 1-1 draw, with it being potentially the worst performance since the new boss arrived. The team have looked relatively solid defensively, only conceding two goals so far, though that will be tested on Tuesday.
Looking back at recent form in the competition, Chelsea have failed to get past this round since 2013/14. Tuchel will hope to put that right on Tuesday night. In terms of their head to head record, it’s tight with two wins for either side and three draws. The most recent meeting was back in 2017 when Chelsea drew at home in a group stage where they also won 2-1 away.
Under Tuchel, a variety of players are performing well including Kanté who was superb against Southampton. In the Champions League though, anything can happen, so while Tuchel is yet to face a loss, what really matters is what happens on the night.
Atlético are enjoying a superb season in Spain, leading the way in the league by some distance. Their form has been near perfect, with only two losses in the whole campaign. Their defence has appeared slightly more vulnerable recently, conceding half of all league goals this season in their most recent six games. The 2-0 loss to Levante, following a 1-1 draw to the same team three days earlier, could be a sign of some fragility.
However, they still appear to be free-scoring and Luis Suárez will be the one to look out for, with 18 G/A in 20 league games. They came second in their group, but only behind last year’s champions in Bayern Munich. João Félix is another player who has looked confident this season, with 14 G/A in all competitions so far.
Los Rojiblancos look one of the best teams across the continent in 2020/21 – if Chelsea want to stop them, they’ll need to be at their best. They reached the Quarter Finals last year and have only failed to get past this round twice in the past seven seasons.
Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea – Player to Watch: Mason Mount
Arguably Chelsea’s best player this season, the midfielder will see this as one of the biggest games of his career. He has proven his worth under Tuchel and has controlled proceedings in almost every game he’s been involved in this season.
The 22 year old has 11 G/A so far, including some wonderful strikes from long range. Additionally, with an expected defensive set-up, Mount can be a catalyst on the few opportunities Chelsea do get.
On top of this, his performance was one of the few positives for fans to witness on Saturday lunchtime. Tuchel clearly values him due to his almost unmatched workmate and effort. Against such a world class team, he will need those qualities from him in abundance in order to get a result.
Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea Predicted Lineups
In regards to injuries, Tuchel said that only Thiago Silva is out for Chelsea. While his experience will be sorely missed, he also confirmed that Havertz and Pulisic were back in the squad which could prove vital.
Following the rather average performance at the weekend, it seems likely that some rotation could occur. The defence may change as well as the attack in which Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner never quite clicked. Callum Hudson-Odoi was in the spotlight after being substituted off despite being a substitute himself, but Tuchel insisted he was still in contention.
Although the wing-backs failed to capitalise against Southampton, the system has worked relatively well so far. Therefore, I’d expect Tuchel to continue with it, but perhaps with Ben Chilwell coming in to offer more in defence.
Chelsea Predicted XI: (3-4-3) Mendy; Azpilicueta, Rüdiger, Zouma; James, Kovačić, Kanté, Chilwell; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Werner
As far as team news goes, Kieran Trippier is still serving his suspension for breaking FA rules. The club recently had outbreaks of Covid-19 but most players are back from this unfortunate spell now.
In terms of injuries, key centre back José Giménez will miss out due to a muscular problem. Both Yannick Carrasco and Sime Vrsaljko are also out of the game, as well as Herrera.
Despite this, the squad is still extremely strong and in their recent 3-5-2 formation they will match Chelsea’s wingbacks. The strike partnership of Suárez and Félix has been one of the best in Europe, so it’s expected that will continue.
Atlético Madrid Predicted XI: (3-5-2) Oblak; Savić, Hermoso, Felipe; Correa, Llorente, Koke, Saúl, Lodi; Félix, Suárez
Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea: Final Thoughts
- When? Tuesday 23rd February
- What? Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea
- Where? Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania
- Kick Off: 20:00 (GMT)
- Match Officials: Referee: Felix Brych Assistants: Mark Borsch, Stefan Lupp Fourth Official: Christian Dingert VAR: Marco Fritz Assistant VAR: Sascha Stegemann
Written by Noah Robson (@noahr_24)
Edited by Tom Coley @tomcoley49
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