All is now set for the UEFA Champions League last 16 games to come off early next year after the draw was completed on Monday afternoon.
One team that has been dealt a raw deal is Chelsea, who will take on high-flying Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16 of Europe’s elite club competition. For a club that finished top of their group, Chelsea would have hoped for a less-tougher opponent.
The Blues are currently enjoying a good run of form under Frank Lampard, but they’ll be really tested when they come up against Diego Simeone’s side.
The Rojiblancos have lost just two games in all competitions this season and are currently joint table-toppers in La Liga – alongside Real Sociedad.
Chelsea's struggles against big teams
And while Chelsea have been in and out of Europe's premier competition in recent years, Atletico have been perennial campaigners. They’ve always been outsiders and were the side that knocked Liverpool out of the competition last season.
Chelsea may have improved greatly in recent months but their form in the big games has been nothing short of disappointing.
A stat that readily makes the Blues look bad is the fact that they are yet to beat any of the top 10 teams in the Premier League this season.
Even worse, the Stamford Bridge outfit have failed to score in games against Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. For a side that has struggled to break down the bigger teams, it is easy to see why Atletico will be relishing this game.
“I think most people will say it’s the toughest draw we could’ve had when you go on current form, how they’re doing in La Liga, European experience, quality of the team and players, I think most people would say that,” Lampard admitted, as quoted by Metro.
“On the other hand I think all draws are difficult in the Champions League. We have to have belief in ourselves when that game comes round. We’re going to have to try to beat these sort of teams if we want to win the Champions League, so it is what it is.”
Chelsea are still firmly in the Premier League title race, but their chances of progressing in Europe are not looking good at the moment.
The Blues face a big test against Atletico Madrid and a win will be a huge statement to the rest of Europe.Published 15 Dec 2020, 14:39 IST