- Atletico Madrid & Chelsea meet in the first leg of the UCL last 16 on Tuesday, February 23, KO 3:00 pm EST
- La Liga leaders Atleti hoping the loss of home advantage will not impact their ability to take a first-leg lead
- We preview the game, look at the odds, and offer a best bet below
Chelsea travels to Bucharest on Tuesday to play Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their 2021 last-16 Champions League clash – February 23, KO 3:00 pm EST – with the game moved from Spain due to coronavirus travel protocols. We list the odds below, preview the Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea game, and offer the best bet for this Champions League match below.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea Odds
|Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea||ATL pk (-122) | CHE pk (+102)||ATL +170 | DRAW +205 | CHE +188||Ov 2.5 (+148) | Un 2.5 (-190)|
All odds taken Feb 15 at DraftKings
Atletico Lead La Liga
Atletico are still leaders of La Liga but suffered a setback at the weekend when they were on the receiving end of a shock 2-0 home defeat by eighth-placed Levante. It was only Atleti’s second defeat of the campaign but they have stuttered a little of late and have won only once in their last four.
Worth noting too is that their route to the last 16 of the Champions League was not without its difficulties – they only won two of their six games – and their best form in the first half of this season was saved for La Liga where they have led the big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona, almost from the word go.
FT at the Wanda @Metropolitano.
⚽ #AtletiLevante pic.twitter.com/yC5gqN5EgC
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) February 20, 2021
Atleti’s Fine Champions League Record
Last season, Atletico beat the then-reigning Champions League holders, Liverpool, at this stage of the competition but slipped up unexpectedly in the quarterfinals against the Germans, RB Leipzig; narrowly losing 2-1 over a one-legged tie due to COVID. Their record in Europe, however, is outstanding and they have reached the last eight, or better, in five of their last seven competition, including two finals.
From the [email protected]_10 ???? #SOUCHE pic.twitter.com/uJpMvqbhmp
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 20, 2021
Chelsea, in comparison, made exceptionally light work of qualifying for the knockout stages, then under the stewardship of Frank Lampard. They finished top of Group E with four wins and no defeats, picking up 14 points from their games against Sevilla, Krasnodar, and Rennes.
They also made it through to the round of 16 in last season’s Champions League but suffered a humiliating 7-1 defeat over two legs by the eventual winners Bayern Munich, in a tie that straddled the first lockdown.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea Head-to-Head Stats
|6||UCL 2021 Games played||6|
Chelsea’s Poor Record in Spain
The Blues have a poor record against Spanish opposition to overcome if they are going to get past Atleti, as in 11 two-legged knockout ties against opponents from Spain they have won just four times, and have also won just two of their last 11 away games against La Liga teams. That this game is taking place in Bucharest may, on that basis, be in Chelsea’s favor. Also in their favor is that in Thomas Tuchel they now have a coach who has taken a team to a recent Champions League final; Tuchel’s PSG losing to Bayern in last season’s finale.
???????????? The Blues are Bucharest-bound!#ATMCHE pic.twitter.com/e5ObM5SEsO
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 22, 2021
Since the German’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s form has generally picked up but at the weekend they were disappointed to come away from Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium with only a point from a 1-1 draw. It did though leave them with a record of seven games without defeat under their new coach and they now are a much harder side to beat.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea Best Bet
In terms of team news, Atletico will be without defender Jose Gimenez, who limped off against Levante in La Liga with a muscle problem, but Stefan Savic is available again after suspension and looks likely to replace him. Atleti will also be without Yannick Carrasco, Hector Herrera, and Sime Vrsaljko but Luis Suarez and Joao Felix are both available again and likely to start.
Bucharest brings back great memories for us ????
⚽ #AtletiChelsea | ⭐ #UCL
????⚪ #AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/QW2OaVVLie
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) February 21, 2021
For Chelsea, Thiago Silva, who missed the Southampton game, is expected to return but Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are both doubtful, albeit both have traveled to Romania, but some good news for Tuchel is that Tammy Abraham is fit again after missing the trip to St. Mary’s with an ankle problem.
Given this is the first leg and is on what is effectively neutral territory I expect this to be a tight, low-scoring affair – the type in which Atleti coach Diego Simeone specializes – but Tuchel’s Chelsea is also now very hard to beat. Therefore, for me, the value is with a low-scoring draw, possibly even a goalless one.
Pick: Atleti and Chelsea to draw (+205)