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Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea: 5 talking points as Olivier Giroud's stunner hands Blues vital away win | UEFA Champions League 2020-21 

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud's second-half goal proved to be the difference between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid
Ishu Roy
ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2021
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A 68th-minute bicycle kick from Olivier Giroud steered Chelsea to a historic 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid at Bucharest in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16.

The goal came on the back of a lengthy VAR check following an initial offside given by the officials. One could argue it was well-deserved, as the Blues maintained close to two-thirds of possession before the goal.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid were extremely passive as they decided to soak in the Chelsea pressure with five men at the back. They did fly out of their blocks after the goal but received a taste of their own medicine when a well-drilled Chelsea saw out the game masterfully.

The victory now means Thomas Tuchel is still without a defeat as Chelsea boss. The West Londoners have only shipped two goals under his tutelage thus far.

On that note, we discuss the five major talking points from Chelsea's well-crafted win over Atletico Madrid.


#1 Nervy, cynical Chelsea take time to settle

It was a tough start for Chelsea early on
It was a tough start for Chelsea early on

It almost seemed as if Chelsea were too late to arrive into the game. They started on an extremely nervous note, losing the ball in key areas and succumbing to the Atletico Madrid.

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Edouard Mendy suffered the initial hiccups after he almost surrendered a goal when closed down by Saul Niguez. Time and time again in the opening exchanges of the game, the Chelsea midfielders were closing down Atletico's most creative outlet - Marcos Llorente.

In another instance, a loose ball that should have been cleared by either Rudiger or Alonso was instead handed to a lively Luis Suarez, who squared it to Thomas Lemar. The winger, chased well by Callum Hudson-Odoi, could not apply the finishing touches.

Chelsea, however, settled into the game and imposed their influence on the Spanish giants.


#2 Aggressive Chelsea tear into Atletico Madrid's sturdy defense

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Chelsea
Chelsea's counter-pressing resulted in threatening turnover of possession for them

The Blues grew into the game after the quarter-hour mark, enjoying plenty of the ball and testing the opposition defense with a variety of chances.

The players, Mason Mount and Hudson-Odoi in particular, interchanged passes and created an overload on the right-hand side due to a relatively advanced Cesar Azpilicueta.

Mount's proactivity, coupled with the pressing orchestrated by Kovacic and the rest of the midfielders, ensured Chelsea won the ball back high up the pitch. A wonderful one-two played between Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud carved open a chance for the former, who shifted to his left and shot straight at Jan Oblak.

Having said that, Chelsea still did not manage to breach the resolute backline of Atletico, who set themselves up purely on the counter.

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Published 24 Feb 2021, 06:16 IST
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