Chelsea has kept 10 clean sheets in Thomas Tuchel’s first 12 games. He recently became the club’s first manager to keep five clean sheets in his first five home Premier League games. The Blues are not worried about their defending, but they definitely need to score more. This is made especially true because they have a plethora of talent in the attacking department. All of that talk of attacking aside, Chelsea just needs another one of those nice clean sheets it’s been taken home recently. A clean sheet against Atletico will make sure that the Blues go through, a non-loss will also ensure that.
Tuchel has already come up against some of the best managers in the business in his time at Chelsea, including Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Diego Simeone and Jurgen Klopp. Impressively, he is yet to concede a goal to any of these managers. He faces Simeone again and here’s who we think he will trust to push the Blues into the quarterfinals:
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Edouard Mendy has been excellent in recent games, especially the Leeds match at Elland Road. The Senegalese keeper made two key saves that made the Blues feel that perhaps they were lucky to leave Leeds with a point. A stretch at full tilt to push a shot to the cross bar, and a point blank save to deny Raphinha showed why Mendy is Chelsea’s No. 1 and there’s no debate about it. It also showed why Chelsea doesn’t need any other goalkeeper. The Gianluigi Donnarumma rumours are just desperate attempts to sell non-existent gossip.
Cesar Azpilicueta (No. 28) Centerback, Spain
Tuchel has been full of praise for the captain recently and it is no surprise that the Chelsea boss has continued to start the Chelsea captain. Cesar Azpilicueta performed very well in the away leg of this tie, though he had some shaky moments at the beginning of the match. He ultimately led the Blues to their first Champions league knockout win a while. His role as the right centerback is quite interesting because in possession, he often overlaps and serves as a fullback to overload the oppositions left flank. His defensive awareness and offensive acumen are why he’s near indispensable in that back three.
Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Centerback, Denmark
Andreas Christensen has replaced Thiago Silva flawlessly. He has played better the more he’s played. He was pivotal in shutting down Luis Suarez and Joao Felix in the reverse fixture. The Dane was essential in nullifying Manchester United’s attackers. Many would prefer Silva in the side, but they also agree that Christensen has played too good to be dropped. Christensen has deserved to keep starting, regardless of Silva’s injury status.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Centerback, Germany
Antonio Rudiger has been efficient. He hasn’t been flashy, but he has done his job well. He has had less to do now because he has two other centerbacks to share the defending responsibility with, but he has carried out his task well and contributed to the team’s good results. His distribution has been tasty lately and his presence in the side will ensure that the Blues have someone to attempt passes when he sees runners. Azpilicueta-Christensen-Rudiger is evidently Tuchel’s preferred back line now.