Chelsea booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League as they overcame Lille 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.
The Blues started brightly, with Christian Pulisic and Emerson both coming close early on – and it didn’t take the home side long to move into the lead when Tammy Abraham tapped home a low cross from Willian on 19 minutes.
An unmarked Cesar Azpilicueta made it two on 35 minutes, heading home an Emerson corner. The much-changed Lille side struggled to grow into the game, continuing to drop off and let Chelsea play at their own tempo.
However, with 12 minutes remaining, the French side pushed forward and pulled a goal back through Loic Remy, who fired in a fierce strike into the roof of the net on his return to the club.
That goal set up a nervy last 15 minutes at Stamford Bridge, but the west London side were able to hold on and see out the rest of the game to book their place in the last 16.
Key Talking Point
Chelsea have hit a poor run of form of late, having only won once in their previous five games in all competitions. Most recently, the Blues slumped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat away to Everton on the weekend.
As a result, manager Frank Lampard will have been keen to see his side get back to winning ways on a crucial night for them, with a win required in order to book their place in the last 16.
From the off, the Blues dominated a much-changed Lille side and following a number of missed chances, they soon moved into the lead just before the 20 minute mark. A second was added before half time and yet, it still appeared as though they were only playing in second or third gear. They were coasting to victory.
The second half was no different and Chelsea continued to play the game at their own pace. However, they weren’t able to add to their two-goal advantage and were punished. Once again, despite the fact that Lampard’s men were cruising for the majority of the game, they were unable to keep a clean sheet.
Nonetheless, overall, it was job done and the Blues booked their place in the last 16 of the competition.
Damn, watching a Chelsea game these days is just too much, one minute you comfortably winning the next you holding on tightly not to draw臘♂️ #CHELOSC
— Pac Wawire (@_P_ac_) December 10, 2019
Chelsea are allergic to clean sheet .
Here have this goal so you won’t go home empty handed 臘♂️ #CHELOSC
— Monsieur ™ 2.0 (@Zaki__13) December 10, 2019
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (5); Azpilicueta (7), Rüdiger (6), Zouma (6), Emerson (6); Kovačić (7), Jorginho (7), Kanté (8*); Willian (6), Abraham (6), Pulisic (7)
Substitutes: Hudson-Odoi (6), Batshuayi (4), Mount (5)
STAR PLAYER – This was a tough one, with a number of impressive performances on the night. Antonio Rudiger looked assured on his return to the team, while Christian Pulisic and Emerson were also excellent and deserve credit for their displays.
However, it was N’Golo Kante who was the team’s standout performer. The Frenchman was buzzing around the pitch, looking to make things happen every time he got the ball. His work rate was truly astonishing and the Lille players were simply incapable of dealing with his movement.
The 28-year-old was sublime throughout, popping up on the right of the midfield before getting back to intercept the ball and carry it forward at pace once more to get his side on the attack. Kante ran the show and he barely even looked tired as the full-time whistle blew.
Can you count how many times you heard the name Kante, sounds so beautiful . Kante creates the corner and defends the counter attack. Just impressive #CHELOSC
— Mbappe issa GOAT (@odili_d) December 10, 2019
Starting XI: Maignan (5); Zeki Celik (4), Djaló (4), Gabriel (4), Pied (3); Soumare (6), Maia (6); Xeka (5), Araújo (6*), Yusuf Yazici (4), Remy (4)
Substitutes: Bamba (5), Jardim (5), Renato Sanches (5)
Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday, hosting Bournemouth as they look to get back to winning ways ahead of a crucial London derby against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.
As for Lille, they take on Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Friday.