Atletico Madrid 2.727/4 v Chelsea 3.185/40; The Draw 3.211/5
Tuesday 23 February, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 2
Atletico leak sees form slip
It’s been a great season so far for Atletico Madrid, but they go into this match in poor form.
Atletico are top of La Liga, but have seen a very healthy lead turn into a relatively small one over the past couple of weeks. They have only won one of their last four games (D2 L1), losing only their second La Liga game of the season over the weekend, when they were defeated 2-0 at home to Levante.
It was the seventh consecutive match in which Atletico have conceded, having only let in six league goals in their first 16 games. Clearly, that is going to have an impact on results and Diego Simeone must surely be considering a change in approach, with his 3-5-2 formation, suddenly failing to provide the security that it did earlier on this season.
Simeone has a major injury worry ahead of the visit from Chelsea. His best centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez had to go off early in the second-half in the defeat to Levante, having only just returned to the side after a short injury.
Chelsea facing first big tests
Chelsea are now unbeaten in seven games under their new manager Thomas Tuchel (W5 D2).
The Blues extended their undefeated run with a 1-1 draw at Southampton over the weekend. It was perhaps a somewhat disappointing result, considering that Southampton have not been in the best of form, which has largely been the case for most of the opposition that Tuchel has been up against.
None of Wolves, Burnley, Spurs, Sheffield United, Barnsley or Newcastle have represented a particularly tough match for Chelsea under Tuchel. Even though they are in poor form, Atletico represent a major upgrade on the quality that Tuchel has had to deal with and at the weekend there will be another test, when Chelsea host Manchester United.
The German is still experimenting with his lineup from the large number of options available to him, as he attempts to find his strongest team. Tuchel will be without the injured Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic for the trip to face Atletico.
Value with draw
Atletico Madrid are the 2.727/4 favourites, with Chelsea not far behind at 3.185/40 and the draw at 3.211/5.
There is no real advantage for Atletico, despite this first-leg officially being hosted by them, as the game will take place on neutral territory in Bucharest. While their domestic form has been excellent until recently, they did not enjoy such good results in their Champions League group, winning only two of their six games (D3 L1).
The value could be with the draw at 3.211/5, in what looks likely to be a tight game. If you fancy Chelsea, they are available at 2.111/10 in the Draw No Bet market.
Goals now flowing for Atletico with Suarez
Both teams to score has landed in six of Atletico’s last seven games and looks big at 2.0421/20. Chelsea have kept a lot of clean sheets under Tuchel, but as discussed, have yet to meet as strong a team as Atletico.
Though Atletico drew a blank at the weekend, they had 28 shots at goal. Luis Suarez has scored 16 La Liga goals from 20 appearances and could be value at 2.95 to add to his tally.