Chelsea will be looking to seal their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they travel to face Lille on Wednesday at 8pm (UK time).
The defending champions take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their last 16 tie with Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic getting the goals at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a good record in this situation too, advancing from nine of their 11 Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.
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Lille team news vs Chelsea: Hosts without key man Sanches
- Ins: Benjamin Andre/li>
- Outs: Renato Sanches, Orestis Karnezis
- Doubts: None
Lille’s goalless draw with St-Etienne on Friday not only harmed their chances of a top three finish in Ligue 1 but it also brought a key injury. Important midfielder Renato Sanches had to come off after just 25 minutes with an injury, replaced in the centre of the pitch by Amadou Onana.
After the game, it was confirmed that Sanches had suffered a thigh injury that will keep him out for around three weeks. He joins backup goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis on the sidelines, with Benjamin Andre likely to replace him in the starting XI after illness.
Predicted Lille XI vs Chelsea:
- Jardim; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Djalo; Xeka, Andre; Bamba, Ben Arfa, Weah; David(4-2-3-1).
Chelsea team news vs Lille: Will Tuchel replicate attacking “risk”?
- Ins: None
- Outs: Ben Chilwell, Reece James
- Doubts: Cesar Azpilicueta, Callum Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea will be hoping Cesar Azpilicueta and Callum Hudson-Odoi are available for selection on Wednesday having suffered with illness and a foot injury respectively. The Chelsea captain is more likely to return and it will be a welcome one with Trevoh Chalobah having to fill in at right-back of a back four against Newcastle on Sunday.
Reece James is still out for Chelsea but it shouldn’t be too long before he returns while Ben Chilwell has only recently started fitness training after his ACL injury.
However, Tuchel may return to the back five at the weekend even if Azpilicueta hasn’t returned, as it proved fruitful in the 1-0 win over Newcastle.
“In the second half it was a back five and of course then Malang (Sarr) is good in defending but we took the risk in the end even on the left side to be more offensive, and defend against the strikers more or less in a three versus three,” Tuchel explained after the game.
“Jorginho was the spare man in front of the back three to control the counter-attacks and the long balls. It’s not their best positions but a bit easier for players like Christian when they come into a match.
“We took the risk to increase our offensive threat and it was a bit of a gamble because Malang was important in defending set-pieces but the game was a draw so I thought we are taking the risk to lose one point but we could win two more points.
“I’m happy because the impact in general from the bench was huge – Kovacic was very strong, Christian Pulisic was very strong and Romelu gave a presence.”
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Predicted Chelsea XI vs Lille:
- Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; Pulisic, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount; Havertz.