Chelsea and Atletico Madrid go head-to-head in the Uefa Champions League last 16 second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with the pair locked in combat for the quarter-final place.
The English Premier League club sneaked a 1-0 victory in the first leg, thanks to a spectacular overhead kick from veteran striker Olivier Giroud.
It was new coach Thomas Tuchel’s first continental fixture in charge of the Blues, who had made it through the group stage under the charge of the since-fired club legend Frank Lampard.
The match also took place in Bucharest, with government Covid-19 restrictions barring English sides flying around Europe.
Imagine Atletico boss Diego Simeone’s irritation, then, when it was announced his side, whose home leg they had to forego, would indeed travel to London for the second leg after all.
None of that will bother Tuchel, who is on a charge to go one better than his runners-up medal in charge of Paris Saint-Germain last season as they were pipped by Bayern Munich in Lisbon.
Tammy Abraham’s dodgy ankle is causing a headache for the German boss, with veteran defender Thiago Silva also having missed the Premier League trip to Leeds last weekend.
Giroud could be given the nod to lead the line at the Bridge, buoyed by his first leg heroics.
Jose Gimenez should be fit to feature in the heart of defence, in a major boost to Simeone and Co.
Thomas Lemar is pushing for a start, depending on how the Argentine chooses to shuffle his pack in a bid to overturn the deficit.
Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid: Prediction
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.
Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid: UCL starting XI prediction
Probable Chelsea Starting XI: Edouard Mendy, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso, Timo Werner, Mason Mount, Olivier Giroud.
Probable Atletico Madrid Starting XI: Jan Oblak, Kieran Trippier, Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez, Renan Lode, Koke, Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente, Saul Niguez, Yannick Carrasco, Luis Suarez.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.