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Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets. It could be an abrasive first leg for Chelsea against Simeone’s Atletico.

UEFA Champions League Betting Tips

Atletico Madrid host Chelsea in Bucharest, Romania on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The hosts have the disadvantage of their home leg being at a neutral venue whilst their recent form is patchy. Chelsea have some confidence and defensive solidity under Thomas Tuchel but with very little attacking flair. It could be an abrasive first leg match against Diego Simeone’s charges.

Atletico Madrid Form

Up until the end of January, Atletico were having a sublime season in La Liga with a ten point lead over Real Madrid and Barcelona with a game in hand and the league’s best defensive record. The title looked close to wrapped up.

However, dropping seven points in their last four matches has seen the gap close to just three points. A 2-2 home draw with Celta Vigo was followed by a 2-1 win at Grenada. Atletico then faced Levante twice in four days, drawing 1-1 away and losing 2-0 at home. That defeat came despite 2.06 xG to 0.77 with Joao Felix particularly wasteful.

Atletico Madrid Team News

The big news is the Jose Maria Gimenez was injured in the last match and will the game against Chelsea at centre back. Stefan Savic should replace him having been suspended against Levante and Saul Niguez is also available after a ban but Kieran Tripper misses out.

Yannick Carrasco missed the Levante match with a knock and is doubtful. He has done a big job tactically from left wingback in the tougher matches and would be a loss. Recent signing from Lyon on loan, Moussa Dembele will give a great impact substitute option in attack.

Atletico Madrid Motivation

Atletico have been quite enterprising at times this season, averaging over two goals per game in the league for much of the campaign before the recent dip. Simeone has also used a back three in either a 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 shape on numerous occasions. His side can very quickly remove a defender and go to a 4-4-2 though (as they did against Levante when
Gimenez was injured in defence and Thomas Lemar came on as a winger).

The old school Simeone approach of ceding possession and playing on the counter attack (or set plays or preying on mistakes) is still there and is the most likely approach against Chelsea. Tuchel’s side have had high possession numbers with little penetration which looks a recipe for a Simeone masterclass.

Chelsea Form

Chelsea ended off Frank Lampard’s reign with three wins in his last four matches (including two FA Cup games). Since Thomas Tuchel came in, the Blues have enjoyed five wins and two draws from his seven matches in charge. However, the German coach has had some very favourable fixtures. The best result in that run was a 1-0 win away at a Harry Kane-less Tottenham.

After a solid 2-0 home win against Newcastle, Chelsea drew 1-1 away at Southampton (who were on a run of six consecutive PL defeats). Despite the coach’s solid results, there is no doubt that the fixture list has been kind and the last result suggests that Chelsea may struggle when playing someone actually good. There has also been a reliance on penalties to get results with that making up a large proportion of the side’s recent Expected Goals.

Chelsea Team News

Thomas Tuchel is expected to continue with his 3-4-3 shape of recent weeks. The coach is likely to have Thiago Silva back in central defence. Jorginho looks certain to start having been rested against Southampton, so either N’Golo Kanté drops out or Chelsea could use Jorginho, Kanté and Mateo Kovacic together in a very defensive 3-5-2 system.

Timo Werner will start in attack and Mason Mount will play in support but the third spot, assuming the shape remains 3-4-3 could be either Olivier Giroud or Callum Hudson-Odoi. Both Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are doubts over recent injuries.

Chelsea Motivation

The Blues are away from home and would be delighted with a score draw and an away goal to take back to Stamford Bridge (assuming that remains the second leg venue). Tuchel has set his side up quite conservatively since taking over, with at least five men remaining behind the ball at all times and lots of safe possession in deeper areas. Chelsea are certainly not going to throw men forward or allow an open match even if trailing.

Key Stats

Atletico Madrid have won 1 of their last 4 matches

Atletico have the best defence in La Liga with 16 goals conceded in 23 matches

Atleti have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 4 CL matches

Chelsea have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 7 matches

Chelsea haven’t won an away CL KO tie since 2012

Chelsea have won 5 of their last 7 away CL matches (D1, L1)

Chelsea have won 1 of their last 6 matches against Atletico (D3, L2)

Chelsea have seen under 2.5 goals in 6 of their last 7 matches


This looks certain to be a tight match. A 0-0 draw or 1-0 Atletico win look the most likely results considering Chelsea’s lack of penetration in attack of late.

Best Bet: Atletico Madrid win to zero at 3.65

Correct Score Tip: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Chelsea at 7.00

Alternative Bet: Under 1.5 goals at 2.65

Alternative Bet: Draw and under 2.5 goals at 3.50

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