Champions League holders Chelsea might be winning matches but there seems to be plenty of room for improvement, particularly in front of goal, if Thomas Tuchel’s side are to have a realistic hope of lifting the trophy once more in three months’ time.
They are at least getting results, unlike French champions Lille. Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side have won just two of their last seven games in all competitions and are marooned in Ligue 1’s midtable, requiring a swift upturn in form if they are to be back on the European stage next season. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
Featured Game | Chelsea vs. Lille
Chelsea: As is so often the case at Chelsea of late, all eyes are fixed on Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian set an unwelcome record for the fewest touches by a Premier League player across the course of 90 minutes, just seven in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Lukaku has made no secret of his difficulties adapting to Tuchel’s system but his manager says if he is to adapt the system then the striker will be “part of the solution”.
“It’s sometimes like this with strikers if they struggle a bit with self confidence, to find the space and get involved against a good defensive side,” he added. “It can be like this. It’s of course not what we want and not what Romelu wants. It’s not the time to laugh about him and make jokes. He’s in the spotlight and we will protect him.”
Lille: The champions’ stuttering Ligue 1 title defense continued at the weekend as they were held 0-0 at home by Metz. They are now in the midst of a run of four points from four games with just two goals scored. However the Champions League has proven to be something of a solace for Lille, who finished ahead of Red Bull Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg to top a competitive Group G before Christmas.
“I felt that we played some good games against Sevilla and Salzburg,” said Lille forward and US international Timothy Weah. “It was an interesting and great experience for me and one that I will never forget. I am sure that a lot of the boys will never forget the moment we made the next round. A lot of positives, some negatives, but mostly positives. We are looking forward to playing at Stamford Bridge.”
This tie may not be easy on the eye but at the end of it expect Chelsea to emerge victorious. PICK: Chelsea 1 Lille 0
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