Chelsea stole a late winner in their first-leg last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid courtesy of a beautiful overhead kick goal by Olivier Giroud and are set to welcome the Spanish side to their home turf for the deciding fixture.
The first leg was played in Bucharest with COVID-19 the major reason why Chelsea cannot travel to Spain. The second leg would take place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s home ground.
Atletico Madrid enters the tie on the back foot having lost at home to Chelsea, but it’s a slender lead. They would have to do something no club has done against Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel took charge to go through to the next round and that means they have to win.
Chelsea has been solid defensively recently, keeping five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, and another one against the La Liga leaders would see them progress to the last-eight of the tournament.
Atletico Madrid’s boss has challenged striker Luis Suarez to break his Champions League goal drought as the Spaniards seek a turnaround against Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Chelsea’s duo of Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham won’t be available for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.
Silva has yet to shake off a thigh complaint, while striker Abraham continues to battle an ankle issue, though both are expected to be fit for club action after the international break.
Midfielders Mason Mount and Jorginho will also miss the tie due to suspension.
Atletico Madrid have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge and will be boosted by the return of Kieran Tripper from a 10-week suspension for gambling breaches.
Diego Simeone has confirmed Joao Felix will start as Atletico look to overturn the first-leg lead Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic bicycle kick handed Chelsea in Bucharest three weeks ago.
Stats and facts heading into the match (Backed by Opta)
- Chelsea have won one of their three home UEFA Champions League matches against Atlético Madrid (D1 L1), a 4-0 win in the 2009-10 group stages. Their one home defeat was in the second leg of the semi-final in 2013-14, losing 3-1.
- Atlético Madrid have lost three UEFA Champions League matches against Chelsea, their joint-most against an opponent along with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
- In their history in European competition, Chelsea have never been eliminated in a two-legged knockout tie after winning the first leg away from home (progressed from all 13). The two occasions they’ve been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League after winning the first leg are in 1999-00 vs Barcelona in the quarter-final and 2006-07 vs Liverpool in the semi-final.
- Under Diego Simeone, Atlético Madrid are unbeaten in each of their previous two UEFA Champions League games at Stamford Bridge (W1 D1). Their only previous away game at Chelsea in the knockout stages of the competition came back in April 2014, as Atlético eliminated them in the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory in the second leg.
- Atlético Madrid have a 50% progression rate in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League after losing the first leg of knockout ties, progressing from four of eight previous ties in these instances. Among the 72 teams to lose the first leg in at least five knockout ties, only Reims (60%, 3/5) have a higher progression rate in the history of the competition.
- Nine of the last 10 managers to take charge of Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League have won their first home game, with Frank Lampard being the only exception (0-1 v Valencia in September 2019). Tuchel has only lost three of the 16 home games he has overseen as a manager in the UEFA Champions League (W11 D2).
- Atlético Madrid have won just two of their last 10 away UEFA Champions League knockout matches (D2 L6) but both wins were at the last-16 stage – in 2016-17 vs Bayer Leverkusen and 2019-20 vs Liverpool.
Chelsea know that all they have to do to upstage Atletico Madrid and join Madrid and City in the last 8 is just not to concede at home which means this tie would most likely be a cagey affair like the last which was only brighten by Giroud’s wonder strike.
However, they can’t afford to lose by more than a goal and a score draw sees them through as well.
Verdict: Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid