Prediction & odds for the game: Atletico Madrid (33/20) v Chelsea (9/5) – ST is backing the home win
When: Tuesday, 23rd February @ 8pm K.O
Where: National Arena
Atletico Madrid and Chelsea will meet this week in the first leg of their highly anticipated UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
Atletico Madrid have used the motivation of Real Madrid & Barcelona’s failings to vault themselves into top spot in La Liga. They may not always be the most attractive team to watch in world football but they’re certainly one of the most consistent, and there’s no reason to expect that’s going to change anytime soon. Sure, they may not legitimately be playing at home for the first leg, but they’ve still got more than enough to pick up the win.
Now that Atletico have firmly cemented their status as title favourites, it’s understandable that a few cracks will begin to show. They have managed to beat Valencia, Cadiz and Granada in recent weeks, but a 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo introduced a few alarm bells. Then, in consecutive games against Levante, they drew 1-1 and dropped a surprise 2-0 defeat just three days later.
Chelsea aren’t exactly title contenders in the Premier League this season but a push for a place in the top four isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Thomas Tuchel is trying to slowly but surely trying to implement a new system at Stamford Bridge in the wake of the Frank Lampard era, but it’s going to take time. The Champions League should serve as an added bonus for this Blues team who, right now, appear to be going through something of a transition period.
From the end of January onwards, Chelsea were clearly starting to hit their stride with Tuchel. They beat Burnley, Tottenham, Sheffield United and Newcastle in the league, and they also progressed into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup by beating Barnsley. Against Southampton, though, they were somewhat fortunate to come away with a point in a 1-1 draw.
This is going to be a really interesting clash between two teams who have solid defensive records as of late. Still, even though there’s no official home team, we do think Atletico are just about going to have the edge. Chelsea are trying to find their full groove, and on the flip side, Atletico seem to have the kind of confidence that means they could beat just about anyone right now. We’re backing the Spaniards to secure a narrow win heading into the second leg.
Our official scoreline prediction is going to be 1-0 Atletico Madrid, meaning we stick to the under 2.5 goals marker – so it may not be the most entertaining game you’ve ever seen.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 33/20 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 8/15 (All odds are taken from bet365).[geosnippet id=3620]
If you want to bet on Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea then head on over to the betting page. Alternatively, you can check out some of the other available fixtures on the soccer predictions page as this season’s Champions League drama returns.