Atletico Madrid will play Chelsea in the first leg of the last-16 Champions League clash on Tuesday. Romania will host the tie due to Covid-19 protocols over travel.
The match is technically Atletico's home leg despite the fact that it is not taking place in Spain. The reverse fixture however is due to take place in London in the middle of March.
The Blues have been on an impressive run of form in recent weeks having been on a 4 match winning run that was halted by Southampton in their last outing at the weekend.
Several Chelsea players are in contention to return for the clash against Atleti including Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic. The London side will, thus, be keen on establishing their gameplay early on in the first leg and try to grab at least once crucial away goal, if not a positive result.
Diego Simeone's Atleti are sitting comfortably at the top of La Liga. But their form has dipped in recent fixtures and Los Rojiblancos will be keen to lift their levels once again to continue their progress in Europe.
The Spanish side are in mixed form with just two wins in their last five. But with several key players returning after a Covid--19 outbreak, they will fancy their chances of setting the pace in the first leg.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea: Head-to-Head
Chelsea have a surprisingly good record against Atletico. The Blues have won two out of six Champions League fixtures played between the two teams. Atletico have managed only one victory against Thomas Tuchel’s side and will need to take it up a notch in this fixture (3-1 win in the 2013-14 season).
The two teams have also played each other in the 2012-13 European Super Cup final wherein the Spanish side emerged with a 4-1.
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Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea: Team News
Jose Gimenez is currently injured for Atletico Madrid. He will not participate in the first-leg fixture. Hector Herrera is currently in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus and will also be excluded from the squad.
Madrid’s English full-back Kieran Trippier will also miss this game. He is still serving suspension for breaching Football Association betting rules.
Chelsea will be without defensive leader Thiago Silva for the clash as he continues his recovery from a muscle injury. This implies that Andreas Christensen will earn his place in the starting XI.
Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic will also return for the Blues after recovering from injuries. Callum Hudson-Odoi might regain his starting berth after being left out of the Southampton clash.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea: Predicted Lineups
Atletico Madrid (3-5-2): Jan Oblak; Mario Hermoso, Stefan Savic, Felipe; Marcos Llorente, Koke, Saul Niguez, Angel Correa, Yannick Carrasco; Joao Felix, Luis Suarez.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta; Marcos Alonso, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Callum Hudson-Odoi; Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham.
Atletico Madrid rely on counter-attacks but will find Thomas Tuchel's formations difficult to breach. Chelsea, on the other hand, will need to create more in the final third to trouble Atletico. Both teams are on a fairly even footing at the moment and are likely to share the spoils in this fixture.