Chelsea have had an exciting start to the season with a number of young players making an impact under the guidance of Frank Lampard. The supporters will be hoping that they can now start to find consistency in results, with a kind run of fixtures upcoming. They lost their opening Champions League match of the season, despite having chances to win the game. The Blues now travel to face Lille, which will be a tricky fixture, but one they must win to move into a good position ahead of a difficult double header against Ajax.
Lille were excellent last season, as they played exciting football and finished the best of the rest in Ligue 1. The undoubted star was Nicolas Pepe, while Rafael Leao has also moved on over the summer. However, they are a club that operates in the right way and more young players are coming through at the club. Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone are ready to take their games to a new level. Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen has been a revelation with six goals and two assists to his name in Ligue 1. They won’t be easy opposition for Chelsea.
This was always going to be a tricky first year for Lampard at Chelsea, as he continues to learn the ropes in management. The Champions League is a luxury that he doesn’t need to be successful in, but the group he has been given does provide an opportunity. The Blues will be looking to get to the next round, therefore a win against Lille is needed. Their performance against Brighton on Saturday was excellent and the young head coach will be hoping that his team can find a consistency to match the potential.
Lille have kept only one clean sheet in their last six matches across all competitions.
Chelsea kept their first clean sheet of the season on Saturday. The two teams poor defences should make for a great game with goals at both ends.
The summer signing has made an immediate impact at Lille and underlines the excellent recruitment system that exists at the club. It was always going to be difficult to replace the players that left during the summer, but Victor Osimhen looks to be a great addition that is capable of scoring regularly in Ligue 1. The Nigerian international has had a fascinating career to date, that has seen him play in Germany and Belgium. However, it is now that he is threatening to break out as a European star and bigger clubs will already be alerted to his talent. He has scored six goals and contributed two assists, but his underlying stats have been equally impressive. He has averaged 4.8 successful aerial duels, attempted 3.4 shots and made one key pass per ninety minutes in Ligue 1 so far. For a young player, his positioning and movement is intelligent, as he regularly causes problems for opposition defenders. This will be a big test for him and there will be lots of scouts watching closely.
The young midfielder has arguably been the standout player for Chelsea at the beginning of this season. Mason Mount starred for Lampard’s Derby County team and he was always likely to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the club legend’s appointment. The trust that the manager has in him says a lot about Mount’s character, as he has been used in a number of positions. At Derby, he was used as a box-to-box midfielder. Meanwhile, he has been in more advanced positions for Chelsea this season. Recently, he has been used as an inside forward on the left and he has excelled in the role. The youngster will be looking to make an impact on the Champions League this season and this provides a great opportunity to do that.
There aren’t many major injury concerns for the home side. Timothy Weah will be missing, but an exciting front three of Ikone, Osimhen and Bamba backed up with Luiz Araujo expected to start. Former Premier League star Jose Fonte will be in the heart of the defence.
Antonio Rudiger won’t be back, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Emerson Palmieri remain long term injury concerns. Frank Lampard is likely to err on the side of caution with N’Golo Kante.
This is going to be a huge test of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. They have faced criticism for their defensive naivety at times, but they were much better at the weekend and the performance was almost perfect. That should give the players a lot of confidence ahead of this trip to France. It is never easy to win away in Europe, but this is a great opportunity for the Premier League side. They should have the quality and momentum to take three points.
Lille 1-2 Chelsea