Sorry, I still chuckle every time I think about how Chelsea won the first leg of this Round of 16 tie against Atlético. It still doesn’t make sense to me. Chelsea could’ve legitimately been up 2- or 3-0 within eight minutes, but instead in the twelfth Sophie Ingle gets turned around, gifts a penalty, and gets sent off. Berger saves the penalty and Chelsea defend well to keep it 0-0 at half. Sam Kerr wins a penalty, Mjelde converts. Then Kirby does that thing she does so well and scores with a clever first-time finish to put Chelsea up 2-0. AND THEN the hero of the match, Chelsea keeper Ann-Katrin Berger, gifts Atléti another penalty! Which she saves. Again! Absurd!
Anyway, I expect Atlético to be a bit mad about all of this. I think they know they should have scored multiple goals on penalties alone but, against just ten, also know they should’ve done better with chances in open play. And, of course, down 2-0, they’ll need to score a lot to turn the tie around. While they have the firepower to do so, the flipside is that their defense is also capable of allowing a few important away goals to Chelsea.
Atlético needing to score and Chelsea being able to pick through them in transition should make for an exciting match that could either be thrilling until the final whistle, or be done and dusted by halftime.
Date / Time: Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 12.30 GMT; 7:30am EST; 6:00pm IST
Venue: Stadio Brianteo, Monza, Italy
Forecast: Clear; 11°C, 52°F
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); none (elsewhere)
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Chelsea website and 5th Stand App (elsewhere)
Chelsea team news: The big question is the health of Captain Magdalena Eriksson. She has reportedly made the trip to Italy, but her status is unknown. An injury picked up in training kept her out of the first leg, forcing our usual defensive midfielder (though she plays center back for Wales), Sophie Ingle into duty alongside Millie Bright. Ingle’s red card will keep her out of this match which means that we will either have our typical pairing back, or have to bite our nails through a new one.
Fran Kirby seems fully recovered and fairly well rested after she came off the bench during Sunday’s 2-0 win at West Ham. Sam Kerr has been running her socks off for a good while now, and could probably use a breather, but the Champions League is no time for that. Bethany England was sacrificed in the first leg after Ingle’s red card, so hopefully she gets another start (and gets to stay on the pitch this time).
Atlético Madrid team news: Losing 2-0 to Chelsea is not an embarrassing result for any club, but losing 2-0 against any opposition with one fewer player for almost 80 minutes, while failing to convert two penalties ... well that’s just hilarious, and likely deeply embarrassing. Atlético have a squad full of players who are very talented and very determined, and will be looking for retribution.
Deyna Castellanos, the Florida State star who missed the first penalty, is surely one of these players. Brazilian winger Ludmila had some sharp moments in the match as well and will be eager to get at Chelsea’s defense again, especially if it won’t be at full strength again. Toni Duggan is a an ex-Everton and Manchester City player who enjoys scoring against the Blues, and forward Ajara Nchout scored one of my favorite goals of the 2019 World Cup.
Previously: LOL; we won 2-0, in hilarious and incredible fashion (read above). Anyway here’s Fran Kirby wrecking their defense before getting an unkind bounce, then the universe righting the injustice via the other post.