The draw for the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League was made on Monday morning, handing Chelsea a stern looking tie against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.
After watching both Manchester City and Bayern Munich drawn out of the hat as the first two group winners, Chelsea, who will be aiming to bounce back from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton when they travel to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday evening, were the third team to be drawn, being handed a clash with Atletico.
In truth, it was one of the sternest tests that Chelsea could have wished for, with easier looking ties against the likes of Atalanta and Porto also acting as a possibility.
Nevertheless, Atletico is who Chelsea will face in the last-16, with the two-legged affair taking place in February and March.
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Before Frank Lampard and his players can begin to think about a clash with Diego Simeone’s side, though, the Blues must focus all of their efforts on their Premier League title charge.
Had Chelsea been victorious over Everton on Saturday evening, they could have found themselves sitting at the top of the table on goal difference after Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both dropped points on Sunday, drawing with Fulham and Crystal Palace, respectively.
However, the Premier League table remains tight and congested; just five points separate Spurs at the top and Manchester United in eighth, meaning the battle to lay hands on the title this season could go down to the wire.
Though European action is now on hold for a couple of months, the Premier League’s hectic Christmas schedule, as well as the FA Cup, will keep the Premier League’s elite occupied.
But once the Champions League campaign does resume come mid-February, it is Chelsea, you could argue, that have the easier-looking set of fixtures in…