The Champions League is back on our screens, and back in London for Chelsea’s Round of 16 Second Leg against Liga BBVA superstars Atletico Madrid. A special competition with a mammoth amount at stake, and our beloved Blues have the upper hand heading into this encounter.
Chelsea managed to secure the upper hand thanks to a moment of pure magic by Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman took advantage if a miss kick from Mario Hermoso, and guided the ball into the back of the net with a tremendous bicycle kick that stunned almost everyone who saw it.
Heading into the first leg, Atletico had a sudden dip in form that may have tipped the odds in Chelsea’s favour. This time around, Atletico have bounced back, and are unbeaten in their last four games. The Spaniards are also unbeaten in their last six away games, which may persuade Diego Simeone’s men to throw everything at Chelsea.
The form of Chelsea is also admirable, with the South London side now unbeaten in 13 games. Thomas Tuchel has revamped the entire Chelsea squad, which will give the fans a glimmer of hope heading into this tie. The away goal that Chelsea scored in the first leg will also give the Blues a certain edge that may push them through to the next round.
Player updates and news:
Four Chelsea players will be unavailable for the Round of 16 clash, with Tammy Abraham and Thiago Silva still not fit for action. Tuchel revealed that the side has no fresh injuries, but the aforementioned duo are still nursing their injuries, but should be available for action following the international break.
Jorginho and Mason Mount will also miss the game, after both receiving yellow cards in the reverse fixture, which will act as a colossal blow for the Blues.
As for the visitors, a fully fit squad will be present in London, with all previously injured players returning.
Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso, Hudson Odoi, Werner, Giroud.
The only thing up for debate here is the front three. We may also see Hakim Ziyech or Christian Pulisic make a start, but Olivier Giroud has to start against Atletico’s strong defence, with the Frenchman securing the upper hand for Chelsea previously.
Players to watch:
Andreas Christensen: A defender this time, which is unusual for me. Andreas has been an absolute rock at the back in recent weeks, and the Dane has been a standout performer in almost every game. The centre half has taken Thiago Silva’s place and has performed way up to standard, with it now becoming even harder to see where Thiago will fit back into the side, which is a brilliant problem to have. Christensen will be essential to this game, and my eyes will certainly be fixed on him.
Joao Felix: The Portuguese international was kept relatively quiet in the first leg, which helped Chelsea out immensely. It is unlikely that lightning will strike twice, however, and Felix will be fixed on helping Atletico progress to the Quarter Finals. Felix will have the speed advantage over the Chelsea backline, which may cause issues for Edouard Mendy. The Blues will hope to keep Felix quiet.
Written by @mashgreaves