Atletico Madrid meet Chelsea on neutral territory at the Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania, in the first leg of their Last 32 tie in 2020-21 UEFA Champions League.
Atletico advanced to this stage as Group A runners-up, whereas Chelsea edged out Sevilla to top Group E and secure home advantage in the second leg.
Yannick Carrasco is a doubt for Atletico Madrid with a leg injury which was aggravated by playing in a 1-1 draw at Levante last week with a knock picked up against Granada earlier this month.
Jose Maria Gimenez (ankle) is also a doubt and could join Hector Herrera (Coronavirus), Sime Vrsaljko (knee) and Kieran Trippier (suspension) on sidelines.
Chelsea could be without Tammy Abraham after the England striker was substituted with a recurring ankle injury during their 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday in the Premier League.
Thiago Silva (muscle), Christian Pulisic (calf), Kai Havertz and Mason Mount (both knock) will also be assessed pre-match.
- Atletico Madrid have won just one of six previous Champions League meetings against Chelsea (W1, D3, L2).
- Chelsea have avoided defeat in three Champions League away trips against Atletico (W1, D2), although this is the first neutral venue clash between these teams in this competition.
- Atletico won the only previous meeting against Chelsea to be held on neutral territory, prevailing 4-1 in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco.
- Atletico scored just seven goals in the group stage which is the lowest tally out of advancing runners-up to this stage.
- Five of Chelsea’s 14 goals during the Group Stage came from the penalty spot.
Having tasted defeat just twice in 2021 including on Saturday to Levante, Atletico will definitely be looking for an instant bounce back on neutral soil and holds a physiological edge over Chelsea after having beaten the Blues in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup on neutral soil.
Chelsea however are unbeaten in three ‘away’ Champions League matches against the current La Liga leaders and underwent a change of manager last month, which has led to an unbeaten run but they must show more sharpness than they did in Saturday’s lucky draw at Southampton.
With those factors in mind, I genuinely can see a good contest coming here between two strong teams, but Chelsea’s defence do look vulnerable at times though given how high up the pitch they’re playing under Thomas Tuchel which Atletico should look to pounce on.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Chelsea
Result: Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea