- Chelsea hold a 1-0 lead courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s lone goal in the first leg
- Both teams prepared for the second leg with goalless draws on the weekend
- Read on for a full preview, odds, and the best bet for Wednesday’s decisive Champions League last-16 encounter
Only one outrageous, decisive, highlight reel-worthy bicycle kick from Olivier Giroud separated these two teams in the first leg on February 23, and it will probably take something equally eye-catching to do the same in the second leg on March 17 – if a goal comes at all.
Both sides warmed up for Wednesday’s game with goalless draws away from home on Saturday, and Chelsea will surely be the happier with that result, as it was the 10th clean sheet in the 12 games since Thomas Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard in the managerial hot seat. Wednesday’s clash will be the ninth contest between the two sides in European competition, with the Blues holding a 3-2 edge, with three draws between them.
Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid Odds
|Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid||CHE -1.0 (+270) | ATL +1.0 (-335)||CHE +120 | ATL +250
|Ov 2.5 (+135) | Un 2.5 (-167)|
All odds taken March 15th at DraftKings
No Doubting Thomas
Chelsea are a markedly different team under Tuchel than they were under Lampard. No longer are they the kind of team that will fall behind 3-0 at halftime against West Brom after a succession of defensive gaffes.
Thomas Tuchel becomes the first manager in Premier League history to keep clean sheets in his first five home games!
They shall not pass ✋ pic.twitter.com/rOUx8HCJx1
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 8, 2021
They are starting to become the no-nonsense, professional outfit that owner Roman Abramovich surely envisioned when he splashed out more than $270-million on the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. As a result, the team is unbeaten since Tuchel took charge for his first game on January 27. And while the team has struggled to score goals since he took over, finding the net just 13 times in 12 games, it has been extremely stingy at the back, conceding just twice over that span.
History On Blues’ Side
With a splendid defensive record to fall back on, Tuchel can also point to Chelsea’s history for a source of inspiration. Ever since they first played European soccer in the old Fairs Cup back in the 1950s, the Blues have never been eliminated from a two-legged tie after winning the first leg away from home. And that’s a span of time that covers 13 such situations.
And Chelsea have only ever been eliminated twice after winning the first leg at home as well, against Barcelona in 2000 and most controversially against Liverpool in 2005.
Madrid Left to Flip a Coin
Atletico have advanced 50-percent of the time when losing the first leg of a European Cup or UEFA Champions League knockout tie, moving on in four of eight situations. But that puts them firmly in the upper echelon of Champions League clubs, as only Reims (60-percent) have a better conversion rate from the 72 clubs who have lost the first leg in at least five knockout ties.
And Atletico have something of a good-luck charm in manager Diego Simeone, as his team is unbeaten in each of their previous two Champions League games at Stamford Bridge. That includes a draw in the 2017-18 group stage, and most memorably, a 3-1 win in London in 2014 to book Atletico’s second trip to a European Cup final.
Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid Stats
|5-0-2||2020-21 Champions League Record (W-L-D)||2-2-3|
A Burgeoning Rivalry
The two teams have now met eight times in European competition, with all the meetings coming since the 2009-10 season. Chelsea have three wins to Atletico’s two, with the London club’s 12 goals just one more than its Spanish opponent.
This is the sixth time Chelsea have made it to the round of 16 in their last eight Champions League campaigns. However, Chelsea have failed to advance any further since 2014, when they were ultimately knocked out by Atletico in the semi-final.
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) March 13, 2021
But while Chelsea’s chances of a Premier League title have all but vanished, the Spanish club are very much a contender for a first La Liga title since 2014, sitting six points clear of second-placed Real Madrid. However, Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Getafe wasn’t ideal, and a Barcelona win Monday would drop that points advantage to four. And while the club has lost just eight of its last 38 European matches, five of those defeats have come in its last eight matches, and it has lost three of its last six European away matches.
Chelsea will be missing both Mason Mount and Jorginho, after both are suspended for an accumulation of bookings. Meanwhile, Tammy Abraham and Thiago Silva are both injury doubts.
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) March 14, 2021
Atletico will benefit from the return of right-back Kieran Trippier after his suspension for the first leg, while both Jose Gimenez and Yannick Carrasco missed the first match through injury but are available for selection this time.
Pick: Draw (+220)