Chelsea hosts Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg from Stamford Bridge. The Blues are clinging on to a 1-0 lead in the fixture—note the away goal advantage—and that slim margin will lead to an undoubtedly nervy 90 minutes for supporters. A spectacular Olivier Giroud bicycle kick gave the visitors the lead in Bucharest, one they held onto for the entirety of the tie’s first contest. If the Blues keep their 11th clean sheet in Thomas Tuchel’s first 13 games, they will advance to the UCL Quarterfinals for the first time since 2013/14. Will Chelsea do enough to get through?
Here are The Pride of London staff’s score predictions for the home leg against Atletico Madrid:
Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 1-0 Chelsea
Atletico will have to decide between playing its normal ultra-defensive game and try to hit the Blues on the counter, or it’ll try to press high and attack all game. Either plan suits Chelsea perfectly as it can hit Diego Simeone’s men on the break or can just pin them back to defend all game. Should one of those breaks result in a goal for the Blues, Atletico will likely set up shop and try to make sure it doesn’t get embarrassed.
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Michael DeVito: 1-0 Chelsea
This is predicated on Giroud starting. If not, the score might be reversed and go to penalties. If so, the Blues are out—they seldom win on penalties.
Mike Malley: 0-0 Draw (CFC advances)
Maybe a little rest for the regular starters against Leeds United wasn’t such a bad thing. Chelsea will definitely need all of its defensive resilience against an Atletico side that is desperate to advance to the Quarterfinals, especially with Los Rojoblancos’ edge at the top of La Liga slowly slipping away. Tuchel will probably do his best Simeone impression in terms of team selection, but a clean sheet is the only goal for Wednesday evening. Park the freaking bus!
Barrett Rouen: 1-1 Draw (CFC advances)
I just think that this is going to be a very nervy and boring game, but I don’t see us keeping Atletico from scoring yet again. Not with its life on the line and the fact that it’s better than Chelsea.
Scott Brant: 1-1 Draw (CFC advances)
Whatever the scoreline is ultimately, the Blues moving on is all that matters. Atletico will be very difficult to deal with. The team that has nothing to lose plays a bit more care free, but the Blues’ defense is equally as stubborn.
Varun Dani: 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea will take the lead within the first quarter of the game courtesy of Timo Werner and take complete control of the tie. As Simeone throws caution to the wind, Tuchel’s men stay patient and kill the game off on the second half. Atletico’s “nothing to lose” attitude will ensure it loses this one.
Nate Hofmann: 1-1 Draw (CFC advances)
You just don’t know what a team will do when its backs are against the wall. That’s doubly true when that team is led by Simeone—scary stuff. Atletico needs the goal, and it’ll come out gunning for it right away. That should give Chelsea a chance to get in behind, something that proved incredibly difficult in the first leg. My bet is that the Blues score first, then concede late on and we’re forced to sweat out the last few minutes.
Akshat Mehrish: 2-0 Chelsea
Preventing an early concession will be Tuchel’s top priority going into this one. Should Chelsea carry its away goal advantage deep into the match, Atletico will get desperate. Even the most well-drilled and defensively sound teams make rash decisions in the time of need. That is exactly when the Blues can use their fast attackers and kill the tie off for good.
Olly Smith: 1-1 Draw (CFC advances)
Chelsea fully deserved its away win; it worked hard, but got bounces. No Mason Mount will really hurt the Blues and while Atletico has just two wins in its last seven, it’s proven to go up a few gears in knockout CL games. Antonio Rudiger will make amends with a header to draw level after his mistake gifts Joao Felix the opener.
Tan Yi Hao: 1-0 Chelsea
It is imperative that Chelsea prevents Atletico from getting a goal early on. The longer this game drags on without a goal from the away side, the greater the Blues’ chances of hitting their visitors on the break late on to seal a place in the quarterfinals.
Anthony Gatt: 1-1 Draw AET (CFC advances)
I think this will be another close affair with Atletico scoring in the second half to take the game to extra time and Chelsea winning with a goal from the captain, Cesar Azpilicueta.
Abhishek Pancholi: 1-1 Draw (CFC advances)
Toothy and terrifying, Luis Suarez will threaten to turn the tables in terms of the tie by putting Atletico ahead on the night. But an equalizer from one of the Germans in the second half will ensure passage for Chelsea.
Kevin Peacock: 0-0 Draw (CFC advances)
Atletico must score and Tuchel’s task, should he accept it, is to prevent that. We know the Blues have the ability to hold onto the ball and that will make for a very nerve jangling 90 minutes of football. We’ve been here before though and Chelsea can hold its nerve, not so sure about the fanbase though.
Gabe Henderson: 2-1 Chelsea
Atletico will open the scoring on the day and take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room at halftime. The Blues will hit back early in the second half and then capitalize on the visitors’ desperate frenzy as the full-time whistle nears to get to the quarterfinals. A nervy game for supporters and entertainment galore for neutrals.
What is your score prediction for the match? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!