Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid. Thomas Tuchel vs Diego Simeone. Chelsea takes on Atletico United in the second leg of the RO16 of the UCL. The match will take place in London. The hosts return to the Bridge to protect a slender 1-0 win, away at Bucharest. Owing to a wonder goal by Olivier Giroud.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE WATCHING?
Why on Earth would you want to miss a Champions League (UCL) Knockout tie? Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days to look forward to, this time of the year. There’s yet so much left in this tie. One of the toughest opponents to face, Atleti would not make it as easy for Chelsea. It is of much significance, as to which team draws first blood.
A clean sheet for Chelsea should see the game through. It’s as simple as that for the blues. For the Spanish Giants, at least one goal would be needed to take the match to the extra time. The last time around the two teams met at Stamford Bridge, ended up in an Atletico Madrid win. It is public knowledge about Atletico’s performances in big games. And honestly, it cannot get bigger than this! Can it?
Chelsea form (All competitions): DWWDW
Atletico Madrid form (All competitions): DWDWL
Team News and LINE UPS
Thomas Tuchel has a couple of fresh roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Atletico Madrid. Chelsea manager is set to be bereft of the services of four first-team players due to suspension and injury-related absences. Thiago Silva (thigh) and Tammy Abraham (ankle) remain unavailable due to their respective fitness concerns. The injured duo has now been joined on the sidelines by Jorginho and Mason Mount both of whom will serve a one-match ban due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
The absence of Jorginho and Mount will force Tuchel to make a couple of changes. Mateo Kovacic is expected to come in for Jorginho in the midfield double pivot alongside N’Golo Kante. Werner will be one of the two attacking midfielders playing off of the central striker, who ought to be Olivier Giroud, with Havertz starting in place of Hakim Ziyech. Hudson Odoi and Marcos Alonso will play the two wing-backs. In the backline, there is no looking past Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and captain Cesar Azpilicueta, with Edouard Mendy, set to take his place in the Chelsea goal.
PREDICTED LINE UPS
Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger
Hudson Odoi, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso
Diego Simeone does not have any fresh concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to west London. In fact, the Atletico Madrid boss will have a full-strength squad to choose from. It will be interesting to see which personnel make the cut in the final starting lineup. One thing that is certain is that Atletico Madrid will be set up in a system that will essentially see them sit in a 4-4-2 formation in the defensive phase while assuming a 3-4-2-1 shape in transitions.
The back three ought to feature Stefan Savic, Felipe, and Mario Hermoso with Jan Oblak in goal. Yannick Carrasco and Kieran Trippier will be the wing-backs. Saul Niguez and captain Koke will be two midfielders who will look to keep things tight in the middle. The forward thrust will be provided by Marcos Llorente, with Angel Correa getting into central areas to play off of Luis Suarez.
Savic, Felipe, Hermoso
Trippier, Saul, Koke, Carrasco
Head To Head
This is the ninth meeting between the two teams in all competitions, with Chelsea boasting three wins compared to Atletico’s two, and the other three ties have ended with the spoils shared. The last time these two sides locked horns was in the first leg (UCL) when Chelsea won the game 1-0.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FO
The veteran striker, sits on the joint second place of the golden boot charts for the Champions League (UCL), with six goals. Five of them, coming in the last two matches. Given the playing style of Atletico, Giroud could have a crucial say in the result of this fixture. Having already scored one in the first leg, the Frenchman will march into this game with confidence.
The Blues defender seems to have found the form of his life under the German Tactician. Since the revamps, against Spurs, the Danish has not put a foot wrong. He along with the Chelsea Backline will be looking to add another clean sheet to their season tally. Conceding none will be their priority, whilst looking to add another to their favored scoreline.
The Uruguayan number 9 had a disappointing outing the last time around. He is the talisman for the Madrid-based side and will be all set to try and help his team turn this around. Suarez has a decent record against 11 matches that he has faced against the blues. If at all Atleti wants to proceed, Suarez has to pull his socks and run for that goal. Blues will have to be wary of the goal threat that Suarez poses.
The last player to score for Atletico, against the blues. Saul Niguez. The midfielder is key to Simeone’s gameplay and tactics. One of the mainstays in the past years, he has the pedigree it takes to be called a big game player. Atleti would go with an attacking mindset, rather than just sitting back. This means Saul and Co. have a huge task up to their hands.
The stage is set for an exciting UCL game, and all the fans will be buzzing for the match. We hope to see an enthralling encounter between teams having different philosophies. We think it will be a tactical battle between the managers. Let’s see whose masterclass it ends up as, Tuchel’s, or Simeone’s!
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