Chelsea vs Lille| Wednesday 22nd February 2022, 20:00 | BT Sport
It’s been a little over 38 weeks since Chelsea defeated fellow English side Man City and were crowned European champions for the second time in the clubs history. Kai Havertz’s strike on the stroke of half time was the only goal in Portugal that night.
This term, Thomas Tuchel’s side finished runners-up in Group H after conceding a last-gasp equaliser from Russian giants Zenit on MD6. The Blues had made light work of the eventual group toppers Juventus just a couple of weeks before, resulting in a 4-0 home victory. Chelsea conceded just four goals within the group stage which was only bettered by Bayern Munich.
It’s hard to believe that in a league dominated both by money and talent in regards to PSG that Tuesday night's visitors pipped them to the Ligue 1 title last season. A large part of the clubs emphatic campaign was down to Burak Yilmaz and exciting young Canadian talent Jonathan David, who between them scored 29 of Lille’s 64 league goals.
Defensively they were superior to all of their opponents, just 23 goals conceded in 38 league games however this season has been very much the complete opposite.
After 25 league games the side from Northern France currently sit 11th with a negative goal difference. Title-winning goalkeeper Mike Maignan left for Milan during the summer whereas the ageing Jose Fonte and Burak Yilmaz have struggled to maintain last seasons performances so far in 2021/2022.
Lille topped a challenging Group G which included Salzburg, Sevilla and a struggling Wolfsburg. Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side took some time to get going, goalless draws against both Wolfsburg and Sevilla either side of a 2-1 defeat in Salzburg left them with plenty of work to do. The French champions came from a goal down to take all three points in Spain and carried that momentum with them as they won the remaining fixtures which at the time extended to an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Chelsea won all three group stage games at Stamford Bridge with a combined scoreline of 9-0 and will know that they are more than capable of seeing of this Lille side. Tuchel will set Chelsea up in a compact manner like he has done for the majority of the season and with a professional performance they’ll head to France with the advantage.
Chelsea averaged nine corners at home in the group stage whereas Lille averaged seven against over the three away trips so I'm happy to combine flagkicks alongside a home success.
Chelsea vs Lille – Chelsea to win and Chelsea 7+ Corners (27/20 Betfair)