After Chelsea’s comprehensive 2-0 victory over Brighton at the weekend, the Blues faced Lille in Gameweek 2 of this season’s Champion’s League. After the loss against Valencia, this was a must win game. Anything but three points would leave progression to the knockout stages looking rather difficult. In the other game of the group, Valencia hosted Ajax in a top of the group clash.
After the early encounters that saw both teams having opportunities, Abraham latched onto a ball into the box from Tomori, controlled it and finished calmly past Maignan. However, Chelsea’s trend of conceding from set pieces continued as Victor Osimhen rose highest from a corner and headed past Kepa.
Chelsea started the second half brightly with a flurry of corners but they resulted in nothing. The game remained very much in the balance until 67th minute substitute. Ten minutes later, Callum Hudson-Odoi beat his man and played a lofted ball to Willian who volleyed into the floor, bouncing over the keeper on its way in. A late mistake from Tomori almost gifted Lille a goal but Kepa was quick to react and got to the ball first. Then in injury time, Kepa scuffed a clearance that fell straight to an attacker, but luckily once again was quick to react and the crisis was averted.
In the end, 2-1 was a fair reflection of the game. Chelsea had more of the ball and more chances, but Lille were dangerous on the break and posed a real threat to our goal. They were unfortunate to come away empty handed.
Chelsea’s performance was similar to that of most games this season. We created plenty of chances, but struggled to put them away. We had periods of great, flowing football but also periods of shaky defending. We looked poor defending set pieces and the game was littered with defensive errors that could have easily cost us the game. The inconsistency of our performances should be a real cause for concern for Lampard.
Individually Kepa and Tomori were the stand out performers, although both had their moments. Kepa looked alert and was always in the right place. He made up for others errors, and his own and realistically there was nothing he could have done about the goal. Tomori once again looked quick and powerful. His pass for Abraham’s goal wouldn’t have looked out of place coming from Pirlo or De Bruyne but his inexperience did shine through at times, namely his mistake that nearly cost us a goal.
Mount didn’t have the best of games, he lost the ball multiple times and his deliveries from dead balls weren’t as good as usual. Alonso looked slow, and clearly looked uncomfortable when Lampard switched to a back four.
James and Hudson-Odoi both made their UCL debuts tonight and rose to the occasion pretty well. Hudson-Odoi looked sharp as per usual and his ball for Willian was inch perfect. James was impressive too. His crosses looked dangerous and he linked up well with Willian down the right. He had nervous moments but that is only to be expected of a teenager making his Champions League debut.
In the end, the only thing that matters is the three points, as they leave us in a much better stead to get out of the group. The performance wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but we got the win that we went to France for.
Kepa – 8
Alonso – 6.5
Tomori – 8
Zouma – 7
Azpilicueta – 6
James – 6.5
Kante – 7
Jorginho – 6
Willian – 7
Abraham – 7
Mount – 6
Hudson Odoi 7