Champions League Cracker: Chelsea Vs Lille Is Much More Than Just A Game, Its Also Abraham Vs Osimhen
By Iwedi Ojinmah 15 days ago
Chelsea make the short trip to face Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday night having suffered defeat to Valencia in their opening fixture in Group H.
Lille went down tamely to Ajax in their first outing of the campaign, ensuring that both clubs are under pressure to perform at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
But there will be an added game within the game as Nigerian target Abraham (ABOVE) will face their new wunderkind Osimhen (BELOW) and the football crazy fans are eager to see how things will unfold and who will get the better of each other. The end result, especially the goals scored by both, will certainly factor in to the general decision if Abraham, who has now indicated that England have the edge in the scramble for him, is actually still worth being added to Rohr's team
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While Lille initially struggled in the aftermath of allowing Nicolas Pepe to leave for Arsenal, Christophe Galtier has now got his team reproducing some of the form which earned them a place in this competition.
Five points have come from games against Rennes, Strasbourg and Nice, leaving the club in fourth position in the Ligue 1 standings, just four points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Lille remain in somewhat of a transitional period given the goals which Pepe contributed last season, although young Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has shown that there is life after the winger with six strikes and two assists from eight league appearances.
The heavy defeat at Ajax means that Lille realistically must get something from their home fixtures to progress in this competition, but you would not back against this side proving a match for their opponents on Wednesday night.
Chelsea travel to France on the back of their first clean sheet of the season, achieved against Brighton & Hove Albion, but Frank Lampard still finds himself at a stage where he needs more results to match performances.
Losing out to Valencia came as a bitter blow, especially with Ross Barkley skying a late penalty, and it puts more pressure on his developing squad when some of them are still bedding into life in the first team.
While clean sheets have been an obvious problem, taking opportunities at the other end is also an issue, and Chelsea need to develop a ruthless streak on a game-by-game basis.
On a positive note, they displayed one when on their travels against each of Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, with those results perhaps an indication that Lampard's side will be more suited to playing away from home as the season progresses.
Lille form: LWLDWD
Chelsea form: DWLLWW
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante scores the opening goal in his side's EFL Cup semi-final second leg with Tottenham Hotspur on January 24, 2019© Reuters
Lampard revealed on Saturday that N'Golo Kante had picked up another issue with his hamstring, leaving the Frenchman as a fitness doubt ahead of this game.
Mateo Kovacic is likely to get the nod over both Kante and Ross Barkley, with the front four staying the same unless Lampard decides to throw Callum Hudson-Odoi into the side after his impressive cameo at the weekend.
While Kurt Zouma could return from illness, the defence should remain unchanged, providing that Andreas Christensen came through unscathed against Brighton after a recent issue with his knee.
Timothy Weah is still sidelined for Lille, but Galtier should have no issues with the rest of his squad.
Gabriel is expected to get the nod over Tiago Djalo in the centre of the defence, with former Blues forward Loic Remy likely to remain on the bench.
Lille possible starting lineup: Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Gabriel, Bradaric; Andre, Soumare; Araujo, Ikone, Bamba; Osimhen
Chelsea possible starting lineup: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Mount, Willian; Abraham