Chelsea look to remind their continental rivals that they remain a serious force in the Champions League, as they head across the Channel to face Lille.
A place in the quarter-finals is at stake and the Blues are in a commanding position, thanks to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of this tie.
Before the sanctions against Roman Abramovich and the subsequent impact on his beloved Chelsea dominated the talk around Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel’s side dazzled under the bright lights of Europe to put one foot firmly in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite tournament.
Kai Havertz had his name on the scoresheet after just eight minutes courtesy of a bullet header past a hapless Leo Jardim in the Lille goal, and Christian Pulisic slotted home with 63 minutes on the clock to cap off a professional display against Les Dogues in the first leg.
Form Guide: Chelsea
The Blues have also enjoyed a solid run since the first leg fixture, suffering just one loss, with that defeat coming in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool on penalties.
They secured a 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Sunday and a narrow win here will be enough to see them through to the quarter-finals.
Despite the financial restrictions, Tuchel has affirmed that his side will travel to Lille to finish the job no matter what, and his players have done a sterling job of focusing on the task at hand on the pitch in the past week or so.
Form Guide: Lille
While their defense was breached freely by Chelsea that night, Lille have proven an extremely tough nut to crack domestically in recent weeks and collected their fifth Ligue 1 clean sheet on the bounce against Saint-Etienne, but they could not find the back of the net themselves as the encounter ended 0-0.
Jocelyn Gourvennec’s faltering champions are still rank outsiders when it comes to returning to continental competition next season but have at least developed a much-needed sense of defensive resilience as they aim to turn the tie around and make the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time ever. They secured 1-0 and 4-0 wins over Lyon and Clermont Foot in Ligue 1 and played out a goalless draw against Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
How the match could go
Lille have kept a clean sheet in their last five league games, recording three wins. They have scored seven goals in as many games in the Champions League, with just one of them coming at home.
Though defense is their strong suit, in this game they need to find their shooting boots, as they have a two-goal deficit to overcome.
The reigning champions will likely settle for a draw as they will keep an eye on the FA Cup quarter-finals as well. A low-scoring draw seems to be the likely outcome here.
Chelsea to win
Chelsea beat Lille in their first match in the Champions League with a two-goal difference. That and the fact that Chelsea won four of the last five head-to-head games they played, while Lille manage to win only two of their last five matches.
These teams faced each other three times in the Champions League over the years and all the games were wins for Chelsea, so we expect the fourth win in a row. Bet9ja have 1.87, 1xbet have 1.93 and Paripesa have 1.93 odds.
A low-scoring affair is what we envision here with both sides looking to play cavy football here. While we’re backing the Blues to win, it could turn out to be a really conservative game. We don’t see Lille letting too much in but just enough to condemn them to another defeat. Bet9ja have 1.30 odds, Paripesa have 1.30 and 1xbet have 1.30 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Chelsea)
The German forward has scored five goals and an assist in his last five games across all competitions and was the goalscorer in the first leg. We are sure of his goal-scoring capabilities here which is why we have him included amongst the goals. Bet9ja have 2.60 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.80.
The Chelsea forward has also endured a bright spell in the past few weeks as he has been involved in the goals when started. Today he would most likely reprise his role up front after being rested for a bit in their weekend league fixture. Pulisic scored a goal in the first leg and he had a goal and assist in his match after that. Bet9ja have 2.90 odds and Paripesa have 2.80 odds for him to score.
Anytime Goalscorer (Lille)
He remains the only player to have scored in any UEFA game hosted by Lille this season (G3 in UCL overall). This makes him a prime candidate for selection here if Lille decides to turn things around. He would be the one to surely orchestrate a comeback if it’s in the books. Bet9ja have 2.90 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.70.
The veteran striker looks to be the other person capable of putting a good performance up front here today. His experience would surely count here today as he would be facing a very tough Chelsea defense, he would be partnering Jonathan up top and they seem to work well together. Bet9ja have 3.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.30.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.