Time to take another step towards progress!
Chelsea welcome Atletico Madrid for the 2nd Leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Chelsea have an away goal in the bank which means that Atletico will have to score a goal without reply to get back into the game. Atletico have won 2 and drawn 2 since the 1st leg which has seen their lead in La Liga get cut down to 4 points. The Madrid team have not been in the best of form over the last few months and it is the main cause for a halt in their season. Atletico will have to come out to play in London because the ball is in their court.
Chelsea go into this game with the away goal and 2 wins and 2 draws since the 1st leg. Unlike Atletico though Chelsea have not conceded in their recent games and the defence is going to be the main strength for the home team. Chelsea might not be scoring goals for fun up front but the clean sheets and have been flowing in with Mendy and the defence handling all sorts of players. The clean sheet will be crucial in this game and Chelsea will know that Atletico will have to attack. If Atletico attack that will hopefully allow Chelsea to exploit the open space left behind by the defenders. There is plenty of pace in this Chelsea team to exploit that empty space.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea will be without Jorginho, and Mount who are suspended after an accumulation of yellows. Two players that are big misses for Chelsea with Jorginho managing the midfield well and Mount providing the pressing and attack up front. Combined they have scored 6 of Chelsea’s 13 goals under Tuchel so clearly the German and Chelsea will need others to stand up in this game. Silva and Tammy are also out for this game. Mendy should start in goal with Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger making up the back four. Alonso, and Hudson-Odoi should start on the wings with Kovacic, and Kante in the midfield. Havertz, Werner, and Giroud should start up front for Chelsea. Ziyech, Pulisic, Reece James etc are all key players that can come on from the bench as well. I could also see Havertz, Werner and Pulisic, or Ziyech starting. Havertz needs to take up that creative mantel with Mount’s absence while Hudson-Odoi should also provide a threat up front along with Alonso. Plenty of pace to handle Atletico.
Atletico Madrid Team Preview
Atletico have a fit squad to bring to London. They cannot afford to play as defensive as they did in the 1st leg and will have to come at Chelsea. For Atletico the aim will be to get the away goals to give themselves the advantage. It’s going to be an interesting game for them and I think Felix and Suarez will be crucial up front. Lemar, Gimenez, and Trippier also back for Madrid which adds to the quality of the lineup.
Starting XI Prediction
Atletico have some key players back and one can expect their attacking lineup to cause more problems for Chelsea than the 1st leg. Chelsea will be tested in this game but we need to level up as well. This could be a statement win for Tuchel and our young team. It will only be achieved by continuing that solidity at the back BUT we have to complement it with finishing our chances up front. COME ON CHELSEA!!!