With Thomas Tuchel’s 7-seater still firmly parked in the garage, Chelsea jet off to Lille as the final second legs in the Champions League last-16 get underway. Chelsea come into this game not only in fine form, but with a 2-0 advantage from a comfortable first leg victory.
Since Thomas Tuchel took over as boss of The Blues, Chelsea have not yet conceded in the Champions League in any match that they have won. This incredibly impressive stat can cause worry for Lille, as they may struggle to get a foothold in the game if Chelsea assert some early dominance.
Lille’s Champions League journey this season hasn’t been incredibly smooth sailing, as they have picked up three wins, two draws and two losses in all games this campaign. This record shows their inability to sometimes kill the game off and show ruthlessness to claim a victory. Chelsea’s journey, however, has been more convincing. The Blues have won five games, drawing one and losing one, showing their dominance in European football.
Chelsea come into this tie in great domestic form, winning their last five league games. With the squad being able to block out all the noise from outside that is clouding the club’s immediate future, the professionalism of the Chelsea players has shone through, giving their fans something to cheer about in these odd times. Lille however, haven’t been able to match these standards. The French Champions have only won three of their last five games. With this recent record still being respectable, it doesn’t quite match Chelsea’s recent ruthless run of results, which may end up with the London club seeing this tie out comfortably.
With the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup in their back pocket, Chelsea will be looking to extend their impressive European run, as they continue their bid for a third Champions League trophy. With a 2-0 advantage coming into the second leg, Lille will have a large job on their hands if they were to overturn the deficit.
Have a look at my bet builder selections below, as well as the Cheat Sheet, as we see who will take the last place in the next round of the Champions League.
Kai Havertz to Score Anytime
With this Chelsea squad producing an impressive string of results, there has been one man that has been the catalyst to most of Chelsea’s attacking action. Kai Havertz has been in incredible recent form, netting in Chelsea’s last three Premier League fixtures. With the German proving his worth by constantly dishing out stunning performances on a consistent basis, I’m backing him to score.
The Chelsea fans sing that Havertz is “just what we need”, and they couldn’t be more right. After scoring the winning goal in the Club World Cup final, Havertz has been firing in goals in all competitions. His current season tally is 11 goals, which looks to be improving as he has been scoring consistently after the turn of the year. Also finding the back of the net in the first leg against Lille, he will know how to find his way through the French Champions.
After Lukaku has struggled to fit into Chelsea’s style of play, using Havertz as a false nine has allowed Chelsea to play to their strengths. Havertz is great on the ball and is able to drop deeper in order to support his teammates in attacking phases. Being crucial in the build-up to goals, he will always end up in the right position, so that he can latch on to any chances. His attacking movement has also been improving, as he is making all of the right runs so that his teammates can feed the ball into him, which he can calmly dispatch.
After his recent flurry of goals, Havertz is now Chelsea’s top scorer under Tuchel’s management, which highlights how importantly Tuchel values his compatriot. For me, Havertz is showing signs of continuously improving as a player, so it seems that there is a diminishing chance that his current progress in his career will be halted. Being the most valuable player for Chelsea in recent games as he is finding the back of the net at the most vital times, I’m backing him to get on the scoresheet once again.
Xeka Shown a Card
The first leg between these two sides showed the difference in competitiveness between them both, as Chelsea were able to be clinical when it mattered the most. With The Blues coming into the match with a two goal advantage, this will change their approach to the second leg, as they will be managing the game in order to safely progress in the tie. Because this suggests that Chelsea will control the possession and dictate the game, this will pose difficulties for Lille. Looking at a potential weakness in their side, I’m backing Xeka to pick up a card.
The Portuguese commits an average of 1.82 fouls per game, and his responsibilities in the middle of the pitch are going to prove even more difficult when Chelsea come to visit. With Chelsea’s midfield boasting supreme quality of passers and dribblers, Lille may find it difficult to win back possession of the ball. With Xeka already picking up a total of eight yellow cards this season, he is no stranger to ending up in the referee’s book, and I’m expecting him to make a cynical foul when Chelsea are in a phase of controlling the game.
With the Italian referee in charge tonight showing an average of 5.2 cards per match, this provides a huge opportunity for Xeka to end up in the book, as the ref may dish out cards on a frequent basis. With a large amount of yellow cards potentially appearing, I think that it is most likely that Xeka will be one of the most likely culprits, as his reputation this season for picking up a booking reinforces my belief that he will be the player to put a foot wrong for Lille.
With Chelsea looking like they will be holding possession in a game they want to control, this will open up the opportunity for Lille to constantly press the European Champions, when they play out from the back. This was shown by Newcastle last weekend, who caused Chelsea a few issues when they pressed the Blues defenders on the ball. If Xeka is required to do this, it might not end up well as he has only been successful in his pressures 29.8% of the time. One little mistake from Xeka in Lille’s tactics could see him end up in the book.
Jonathan David to have 1+ Shots on Target
Even though Chelsea may look to take charge in this second leg, any opportunity where the Blues find themselves sleeping will be largely exploited by this talented Lille side. Looking at Lille’s attacking threat, I’m backing Jonathan David for a shot on target.
Even though Chelsea may see this tie through, Lille will definitely be up for the challenge. With a host of attacking talent at their disposal, David has proved himself as a vital outlet for Lille this season, netting 13 league goals, as well as three goals in the Champions League. With Chelsea’s defence not being airtight as it once was when Tuchel took over, this provides Lille to get something out of the game.
Already matching his goal tally from last season, David is an up-and-coming talent that is proving himself in the Lille ranks. The Canadian international averages 2.06 shots per game, with an average of 1.05 of those hitting the target. With the Lille tactics looking most likely to be pressuring Chelsea in possession, David will be in the right position at the right time, if The Blues are forced into any mistakes. You can count on David for this, as his Strikers’ instinct is rapidly improving, as his development has been highlighted through his goal tally.
Despite Chelsea players being able to play without the current club situation affecting their performance, there is only so much the players can do as they will be worrying about the future of the club, as well as themselves. As the situation drags on longer, this doubt may start to creep in and the performances of the players may start to be affected. Because of this, Lille need to be ready to capitalise on any slip-ups made by Chelsea, and the attacking talent of David seems like a channel where it is most likely to be seen.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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Lille v Chelsea Predicted Line-ups
Lille predicted XI (4-4-2) : Jardim; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Djalo; Bamba, Andre, Xeka, Gudmundsson; David, Yilmaz
Chelsea predicted XI (3-4-3) : Mendy; Silva, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic
Lille v Chelsea Cheat Sheet
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* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Lille v Chelsea in the Champions League
📅 When is Lille v Chelsea? / Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 20:00
🏟 Where is Lille v Chelsea? / Stade Pierre Mauroy (Lille)
📺 What TV channel is Lille v Chelsea on? / BT Sport 2
🟨 …And who is the referee for Lille v Chelsea? / Davide Massa 🇮🇹