Huge Atletico Test for Chelsea

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Chelsea's Champions League credentials are likely to be severely tested by an experienced Atletico Madrid side this week.

Luis Suarez

This week’s Champions League last-16 action begins with reigning champions Bayern Munich taking on Group F runners-up Lazio in Rome before Thomas Tuchel gets his first taste of European football as Chelsea boss when the Blues play Atletico Madrid in Romania.

Real Madrid are the other La Liga outfit involved this week as they travel to Bergamo to take on plucky Atalanta, while an irrepressible Manchester City side, fresh from their 18th successive win, lock horns with struggling Borussia Monchengladbach in Budapest.

Atletico can Break Chelsea Resistance

There is plenty Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone should like about the way Chelsea have been playing under new boss Thomas Tuchel but the Argentinian is well-versed in these kinds of knockout ties and can ensure his side take a first-leg lead against the Blues.

Chelsea are yet to lose in their first seven games under Tuchel, having kept five clean sheets in that run, but they could be frustrated in the final third by a robust Atleti defence.

Atletico’s recent run has not been great but they have still won 17 of their 23 La Liga games this term, conceding only 16 goals all season, and have the better attacking options of the two sides with Joao Felix and red-hot Luis Suarez in their ranks. They look a solid bet at 33/20 to beat Chelsea, who are rated 2/1 to win.

Immobile can lead Lazio charge in Rome

Bayern Munich stormed to the Champions League title last season but look a touch vulnerable going into the first leg of their last-16 encounter with Lazio this week. 

Corentin Tolisso, Thomas Muller, Benjamin Pavard, Serge Gnabry, Douglas Costa, Tanguy Nianzou, Leon Goretzka, and Javi Martinez are all expected to miss out for the Bavarians, who have lost to Eintracht Frankfurt and drawn with Arminia Bielefeld in their last two games.

They therefore make little appeal at 2/3 to win the game and while Lazio could offer value at 19/5, the best bet could be Ciro Immobile to score at anytime at 6/4. The Italian marksman has bagged 14 goals in 21 Serie A matches and scored five times in the Champions League group stage this term.

Atalanta’s frontline can spring a surpriseĀ 

Real Madrid are closing in on Atletico Madrid in La Liga but they may not translate their great domestic form into the Champions League this week.

Real have won each of their last four league games but have played out-of-form Huesca, Getafe, Valencia and Real Valladolid and Atalanta will pose far more of a threat in attack.

The Serie A outfit blew apart Napoli 4-2 last time out and progressed from a tricky Champions League group which featured Liverpool, Ajax and Midtjylland earlier in the season. They won 2-0 at Anfield in the group phase and, with Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata impressing in the final third, they should fancy their chances of getting something from the game. Back them at 5/7 in the draw no bet market.

Monchengladbach won’t Relish City Test

Borussia Monchengladbach’s season is going from bad to worse in the Bundesliga with Marco Rose’s men having failed to win any of their last four league fixtures against Mainz, Wolfsburg, Cologne and Union Berlin.

They are at risk of missing out on European football altogether in the league this term and a clash with Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 will do them no favours this week.

Pep Guardiola’s City have been unstoppable in the Premier League and their win over Arsenal at the weekend was their 18th successive victory.

Guardiola is obsessed with the Champions League so is unlikely to take his foot off the pedal and Man City look a great selection at -1 goal on the handicapĀ  at 5/6.

*All odds correct at time of writing

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