Atletico Madrid and Chelsea braced for Champions League blockbuster

    Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea Preview 23/02/2021

    24 Feb 2021 | Champions League | Preview
    Atletico Madrid and Chelsea braced for Champions League blockbuster
    Vladimir Koshkarov / Shutterstock

    Atletico Madrid and Chelsea clash for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

    Due to travel restrictions, Tuesday’s first leg will be played at Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania, with the venue for the second leg still undecided.

    Atletico Madrid come into this one sitting at the summit of the La Liga table – three points clear of second-place Real Madrid.

    An eight-match winning streak across December and January saw Atletico open up a mammoth lead at the top of the Spanish top-flight.

    However, a run of one win in their last four games – two draws and one defeat – has seen Diego Simeone’s men throw away their hefty advantage.

    Still, Atletico remain the second-highest scorers in the league and also boast the best defensive record in Spain’s top tier.

    Atletico only lost one of their six group games earlier in the Champions League campaign, qualifying for the knockout phase seven points behind Bayern Munich in Group A.

    Meanwhile, Chelsea moved back into the top four in the Premier League following a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

    The Blues are undefeated in the EPL since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard, recording four wins and two draws.

    Chelsea claimed four straight victories over Burnley, Tottenham, Sheffield United and Newcastle, before being held by Saints last time out.

    The Blues finished ahead of Rennes, Krasnodar and Sevilla to finish top of Group E back in December, with four wins and two draws seeing them go unbeaten in the group stage.

    However, with a new manager at the helm, it is difficult to gauge exactly how far Chelsea can go in the Champions League this season.

    Head-to-head: Interestingly, overall head-to-head record between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea in Europe is perfectly balanced.

    Both sides have claimed two wins, while both teams have scored 11 goals. There have also been three draws between the clubs.

    Team news: Atletico Madrid could be without Hector Herrera, Yannick Carrasco and Jose Maria Gimenez on Tuesday. Keiran Trippier is suspended.

    Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns, although Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz are all questionable for Tuesday’s match.

    Apart from a couple of recent results, Atletico have enjoyed a phenomenal run of late. However, Chelsea have also made some notable improvements under Tuchel.

    With that in mind, Forebet predicts that Atletico and Chelsea will share the spoils on Tuesday, with both teams scoring over 1.5 goals.