After a run of fixtures which has seen Chelsea win just once in their last 5 matches, a must win game in the Champions League has come at perhaps the most difficult part of Lampard’s reign so far. The Blues have failed to keep a clean sheet in all of those games, so the need to outscore Lille is crucial if we are to progress to the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.
In the last game between the two sides, Lampard started with a 3-4-3 formation, which although produced a first half goal for Tammy Abraham, created precious little else. We saw a lot of side to side possession with very little penetration which will be sorely needed to get a win at Stamford Bridge. A return to that formation would be unlikely, even more so after Lampard switched to a back 4 for the second half in France.
Lille’s last game on Friday saw a pretty much full strength XI secure a 1-0 win over Brest. With another game this Friday, and nothing to play for in the Champions League, perhaps we won’t see the bests Lille has to offer, although Lampard will prepare for a tough game.
Chelsea meanwhile, succumbed to a disappointing 3-1 loss to Everton in what was a very poor display from the same team that dominated Aston Villa at home in midweek. Defensive errors were the order of the day as they have been so often this season, so an improvement in dealing with Lille’s threats will be desperately needed and wanted by Lampard.
Antonio Rudiger has been training for a while now and Lampard reported today that he’s over the injury and raring to go, so with Tomori out with a small hip problem, we could see the German in action. Marcos Alonso remains fit but is seemingly out of favour, while Olivier Giroud has picked up an issue and won’t be available.
This is a must win game in order to get through to the knockout stages of the Champions League so I expect a few changes from the Everton game. Jorginho is bound to come back into the team and we could see Rudiger start after some hints from Lampard. If we fail to get through, we have only ourselves to blame. But overall, whoever is out on the pitch should hopefully have enough to beat Lille and progress.
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 10th December
Chelsea vs Lille
Kick off: 20:00 UK time