After a two-week international break, Chelsea FCW begin a busy March with the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 matchup against Atlético Madrid tonight.
With a win, the Blues can take another stride towards the holy grail of the elusive Champions League trophy, with a second leg (to be played in Italy) still to follow next week as well.
Date / Time: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021, 7:00pm BST; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST (next day)
Referee: Tess Olofsson (SWE)
Forecast: Mild, light rain expected
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); none (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport App (UK); Chelsea’s 5th Stand App (International)
Chelsea FCW team news: The Blues have been fairly fortunate on the injury front this season and we have good news this week about the availability of both Fran Kirby and Millie Bright.
Kirby has been perhaps the best player in the Women’s Super League this season, scoring and setting up goals at an absurd rate. She had to be taken off in Chelsea’s last match, prior to the break, but it’s great to hear that she’s fit, rested and ready. Likewise, Bright’s recent knock appears to be behind her, allowing her to join fellow super-centre-back, Magda Eriksson.
Chelsea will be looking to grab an early lead against the visitors, who must not be underestimated, lest we pay the Manchester City price.
“We have full respect for the work they’ve done, especially knocking out Man City in the last two years but we don’t underestimate them.
“To be honest with you I’d rather have a really tough test to see where we are at this stage of the season and we’re just really looking forward to it. I’ve learnt that these are the teams that you absolutely must pay the most attention to and I’ve prepared the team with the detail that is necessary like I do every week.
“Like I said, they have defeated Man City so for them they are going into the game full of confidence, they know that they perform well in cups and this is a cup competition that they will be fully prepared for.”
-Emma Hayes; source: Chelsea FC
Atlético Madrid Women team news: Sitting third in La Liga Femenina, Atléti have struggled to find the goals required to make a serious challenge for their fourth league title in the past five years. But you wouldn’t guess they have had any trouble scoring judging by their dominant 9-2 aggregate score against Servette in the previous round of the Champions League.
Brazil international Ludmila has been the strongest attacking option for Atléti this season and she’ll likely be the one for Chelsea’s defense to watch closely. She may be joined by England International Toni Duggan, well known to the Blues from her days at Manchester City.
Another player who may feature is an old friend, former Chelsea goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. Lindahl was hugely impactful after joining the Blues in 2014, with Hayes crediting her as one of the most influential players in raising Chelsea to our current levels. Champions League evenings often create special moments, and a reunion of Lindahl, who left in 2019, and Chelsea could be special indeed.
I knew it, I felt it. Looking forward to a return to the land of the blues. #UWCL— Hedvig Lindahl (@hedvig_lindahl) February 16, 2021
Previously: The two teams have not met previously. Instead, let’s take a look back to our previous Champions League matchup, against SL Benfica in the Round of 32.