CHELSEA face their first huge test under manager Thomas Tuchel when they take on Atletico Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League this evening.
The Blues are unbeaten under Tuchel, but Diego Simeone’s side represent one of the toughest tests in European football.
The Champions League knockout stage rolls on Tuesday with more round of 16
The Champions League knockout stage rolls on Tuesday with more round of 16 action on CBS All Access. Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are set to square off, but not in Spain. The match will be played in Bucharest due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Both teams are loaded with talent, though neither is considered among the top tier of contenders in the competition, and only one can advance to the last eight when the second leg takes place next month. This first leg sees both teams enter after disappointing results over the weekend.
Here’s how you can watch the match and what to know:
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 23 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Arena Nationala — Bucharest, Romania
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream: CBS All Access
Odds: Atletico +170; Draw +200; Chelsea +190
Craving more coverage of the Champions League? The ¡Que Golazo! podcast has a full preview of Tuesday’s action. Listen below:
Atletico: Remember how they were running away with La Liga? Well, not anymore. It appears to be a two-horse race at the moment alongside Real Madrid as Atletico have won just one of their last four games and just lost to Levante at home on Saturday. The defense has been filled with mistakes, which is uncharacteristic, while the attack has been off. In the last two games, both against Levante, Atletico have recorded 42 shots, scoring just once. They’ll hope it is just a rough patch and not a sign of continued form.
Chelsea: Christian Pulisic is set to return from a slight injury and is expected to play for the Blues, while Thiago Silva is still out with his injury, putting the Chelsea backline in a tough spot against a speedy, talented attack. Since Silva picked up his injury against Tottenham on Feb. 4, the Blues have conceded just two goals in four games, with Andreas Christensen coming in. But those matches were against below-average attacks of Sheffield United, Barnsley, Newcastle and Southampton. The real test begins now with a wild stretch coming up of Atletico, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Leeds and the return leg against Atletico. An absolutely brutal run of matches.
GOOD EVENING FROM BUCHAREST
Welcome to SunSport’s live coverage of the Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
The leaders of La Liga face Thomas Tuchel’s rejuvenated Blues in the first leg of this season’s last 16 as they embark on the knockout stages of the competition for the seventh time in eight years.
However, Atleti will be unable to utilise the usual home advantage with the fixture moved to Romania due to the Spanish Government’s coronavirus measures.
It could be a blessing in disguise for the Spaniards if Saturday’s home performance is anything to go by; Diego Simeone’s men fell to their first league defeat at the Metropolitano Stadium in 14 months when they were defeated 2-0 by Levante.
To make matters worse, Jose Maria Gimenez hobbled off in that loss, and the Chelsea transfer target will be unavailable to face his long-term suitors.
Elsewhere, Hector Herrera has tested positive for Covid-19 and misses out along with the likes of Sime Vrsaljko and Yannick Carrasco.
The visitors had hoped to welcome back the experienced Thiago Silva for this clash, but the Brazilian remains out with a suspected hamstring injury.
The Brazilian aside, Chelsea have otherwise travelled to Bucharest with a fully fit squad – and that includes Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was substituted 30 minutes after coming on himself in the draw at Southampton at the weekend.
The Londoners are unbeaten in seven games since Tuchel took charge at Stamford Bridge, but his toughest test undoubtedly awaits him this evening.
We’ll have confirmation of tonight’s starting line-ups imminently with kick-off at the National Arena to come at 8pm.
Atletico and Chelsea both get a goal in the second half in a result that suits the Blues more than Los Colchoneros. Pick: Atletico 1, Chelsea 1
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