The Chelsea lineup that should start against Atletico Madrid

22 February 2021 03:30

Thomas Tuchel will take charge of his first Champions League game as Chelsea manager when his side travel to Bucharest to meet La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Facing Atletico was a daunting proposition when the draw was made, but with Diego Simeone's side on a run of one win in their last four games, Tuchel will smell blood and must take advantage of the situation.

Here's how he should set his side up.


1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Christensen deserves a recall | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Edouard Mendy (GK) - Kepa Arrizabalaga played the last Champions League game, but he'll be dropped back to the bench for this one.

Cesar Azpilicueta (CB) - Surprisingly effective as an overlapping centre-back, Azpilicueta has been impressive in Tuchel's system and will likely retain his place.

Thiago Silva (CB) - Having missed the last four games, expect the veteran Brazilian to come back into the fold on a huge night for the club. He was back in training last week and they will need his experience.

Antonio Rudiger (CB) - Kurt Zouma made his first Premier League start under Tuchel last time out, but he didn't do enough to convince the boss to bench Rudiger.


2. Wing-backs & midfielders

Mount was Chelsea's saviour against Southampton | Pool/Getty Images

Reece James (RWB) - More of a natural defender than Callum Hudson-Odoi, James will be relied upon to keep Atletico's tricky forwards at bay.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) - We already know how much Tuchel loves Kovacic. Even though he wasn't great against Southampton, he's surely still going to keep his place here.

N'Golo Kante (CM) - One of Kante's best performances in a Chelsea shirt came away to Atletico in 2017, and Tuchel will hope for something similar here.

Ben Chilwell (LWB) - Marcos Alonso wasn't great against Southampton, so Tuchel should look to give Chilwell another chance to impress.

Mason Mount (AM) - Mr Chelsea. Mount's forward-thinking and high press will be crucial to destabilising Atletico's solid defence.

Timo Werner (AM) - Werner's recent resurgence stalled against Southampton, but he still deserves to keep his spot in the team, particularly with nobody else really staking a claim.


3. Forward

Giroud should come back in | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud (ST) - Tammy Abraham looked both unfit and uncomfortable against Southampton, so Giroud seems like the safer option. His four-goal haul against Sevilla earlier in the competition is still fresh in the memory.


For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

Source: 90min