This is a bit of a tricky encounter to call, both sides have probably performed slightly above what was expected of them this season and I’d say for both that progression in this competition isn’t necessarily expected. Maybe more so for The Blues after their Europa League triumph.
It’s been very much a rebuilding process for both sides after losing star players in the summer. Former Lille star Eden Hazard moved on to pastures new with Real Madrid, leaving a huge hole in the Chelsea squad. The Belgian carried them through many games last season, similarly did Nicolas Pepe for Lille. He completed £70m switch to North London with Arsenal and was a huge part of Lille’s impressive campaign last season as they finished as Ligue 1 runners up.
Both sides have now put their faith in youth and it’s definitely been working. Frank Lampard’s belief in the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori has been repaid by all three performing exceptionally so far. In a similar fashion to Abraham, Lille pinned their hopes on a young centre forward – Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian teenager has scored in every home game so far this season and currently leads the Ligue 1 scoring charts, he’s 3.1 to score anytime and 7.0 first which looks like great value for such an in form player.
Both sides will be desperate for points here after defeat in their opening Champions League matches, I don’t see either sitting back. Both teams to score at a price of 1.72 looks like a solid bet. It may have been a rough start in Europe but both have shown their goal scoring capabilities in domestic football.
I would’ve personally had these sides priced slightly closer together. Chelsea’s lack of experience makes this a real tough test. It can’t be overlooked that Lille have won 11 straight home games in their domestic league, stretching back to last season which included a win over PSG.
Lille draw no bet could represent some real value at 2.55 or opt for double chance at 1.72. I think it’ll be a big ask for The Blues to come here and take all three points however I do think that they’ll score. As already mentioned, BTTS is priced at 1.72. Or you could go with a Chelsea goal scorer; Abraham is the obvious choice but I like the look of Willian at 3.6 anytime. He takes set pieces and has a real moment of magic in him so I see more value there.
After watching Chelsea fall at home to Valencia on match day one there was some glaring issues. They failed to take their chances and were lapse in defence when called upon, this game has the hallmarks of going the same way.
The only injury doubt for the hosts is American forward Timothy Weah. He would’ve been very unlikely to start this one anyway, but his impact from the bench may be something that Lille miss later on in the game. Former Southampton stalwart Jose Fonte will start at centre half for Lille, he’ll be partnered by either Gabriel or Tiago Djalo.
The front four are all ones to watch for the hosts. They posses great speed in attack and the three in support of Osimhen are all wonderful technicians; Lucas Araujo showed that with the stunning goal he scored at the weekend. Jonathan Bamba was linked with multiple European giants after an impressive last campaign, he operates primarily from the left and is key to Lille creating chances.
Chelsea are without Emerson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger. There are also doubts over Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and most importantly: N’Golo Kante.
Kante was left out of the weekend win against Brighton, with Lampard hoping that he’ll return for this one along with Mateo Kovacic. This would allow Mason Mount to re-join the attacking trifactor as opposed to playing a deeper role in the midfield. Ross Barkley and Willian will compete for a starting place, with Lampard likely to favour the pace of the Brazilian in this one. Tammy Abraham will again be the focal point of the attack, he’s the shortest odds of any player to get a goal at 2.4 anytime and 5.0 first.
With Zouma’s injury, we’re likely to see a pairing of Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori. Aside from Tomori I’ve been far from impressed with Chelsea’s centre back options. They look far from solid and that will be a great concern to Lampard when facing a team who excel at home.