Chelsea have yet to lose under Thomas Tuchel, and if we can maintain that streak, we will book our place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14, when, incidentally, our campaign was ended by Atlético Madrid — in the semifinals.
That matchup also saw Chelsea play at home in the second leg, after a good away result. This year’s 1-0 away win is obviously better than that year’s 0-0 draw, but Atléti’s 3-1 win at the Bridge would’ve been enough to overcome either result. Just goes to show that you cannot take anything for granted in football.
Date / Time: Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 20.00 GMT; 4pm EDT; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Daniele Orsato (on pitch); Massimiliano Irrati (VAR) — Orsato refereed last year’s Champions League final, which Tuchel’s PSG lost to Bayern Munich. He has three Chelsea games on his resume, all from quite some time ago, including our 1-1 draw against Maribor and 2-1 loss at Basel in the 2014-15 and 2013-14 group stages, respectively. His first game for us was out 1-0 win over Sparta Prague in the 2012-13 Europa League knockout stages.
Forecast: Mild & dry
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); UniMás, TUDN (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport Máximo 1, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, Univision Now, TUDNxtra (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — CBS All Access is now called Paramount+, which is the same not-great thing, with more mediocre content, and with football (and sports in general) even harder to find on it. Here’s SB Nation’s old CBS-AA affiliate link, which should still work. We also have a Fubo TV affiliate link, if you’re so inclined.
Chelsea team news: It feels like Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham have been injured forever, and they remain so. We’ve been coping pretty okay without them, but the absence of two of Tuchel’s ever-presents, Mason Mount and Jorginho — especially Mason Mount! — could be quite concerning. They are both suspended due to yellow card accumulation, having picked up their third of the competition in the first leg.
Tuchel continues to search for balance in the team, with our foibles in front of the opposition’s goal continuing to stand in stark contrast with our excellence in front of our own. That said, even the latter looked a bit shaky over the weekend, with goalkeeper Édouard Mendy needing to bail us out repeatedly. Given the fact that we’ll advance if we can keep another clean sheet, perhaps all our efforts should be focused on achieving that pragmatic goal.
Atlético Madrid team news: Since we last saw them, Atléti have won twice and drawn twice in the league to keep four points abreast of Messi FC and six points abreast of Hazard Injury FC at the top of the league. Like Chelsea, Atléti only managed a 0-0 away draw over the weekend, despite playing against 10-man Getafe for the final 20 minutes.
Atléti’s injury situation has improved as well, with every first-team player traveling with the team to London. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak had suffered a knock over the weekend, but that was never going to keep him out for this game.
Diego Simeone’s men are confident as any of overturning this deficit. They are unlikely to be as passive as in the first leg. This will not be easy.
View from the enemy: Into The Calderón
Previously: Olivier Giroud won the first leg with a moment of magic.