Chelsea v Lille commentary and team news: Blues face French champions in last 16

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Champions League holders Chelsea will welcome Ligue 1 champions Lille to Stamford Bridge this evening for the first-leg of their round of 16 tie.

Thomas Tuchel’s Blues finished as runners-up to Juventus in Group H in the group stages of the elite European competition this season while Lille topped Group G.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea take on Lille in the Champions League this week

Getty

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea take on Lille in the Champions League this week

It was a favourable draw for the Premier League giants as they avoided the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

But the newly-crowned Club World Cup champions will be eager to make no mistakes against Lille tonight and secure the advantage in the two-legged tie. 

Chelsea have had a hectic schedule of late and needed a last-minute Hakim Ziyech winner to see off Crystal Palace in the top-flight on Saturday.

Lille, meanwhile, have been in patchy form recently, winning just twice in their last seven in all competitions, and drew at home to Metz on Friday night.

Chelsea v Lille: talkSPORT coverage

The Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie will kick-off at 8pm on Tuesday, February 22.

Full coverage from Stamford Bridge will be live on talkSPORT from 7pm.

Adrian Durham will be your host and commentary will come from Jim Proudfoot and former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino.

To tune in to talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2, click  HERE for the live stream.

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Mason Mount will miss out for Chelsea as he continues to overcome an ankle injury

AFP

Mason Mount will miss out for Chelsea as he continues to overcome an ankle injury

Chelsea v Lille: Team news

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta could return after a groin issue tonight.

Callum Hudson-Odoi should miss out again due to an Achilles injury, while Mason Mount could make the bench.

Mount has been struggling with an ankle ligament concern, but has made good progress and is inching towards being fully fit for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his comeback from an Achilles issue at the weekend and could start.

Reece James is close to returning from a hamstring problem but this game will come too soon while Ben Chilwell remains a long-term absentee.

Sanches has been phenomenal for Lille over the last few years

getty

Sanches has been phenomenal for Lille over the last few years

Chelsea v Lille: Who are Lille?

French champions Lille will head for west London hoping history does not repeat itself. 

The sides last met in the group stage of the competition during the 2019/20 campaign with the Blues winning 2-1 home and away. 

Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side – the former midfielder replaced title-winning boss Christophe Galtier last summer – have made it to the knockout stage for just the second time and the first since 2006/07, when they lost 2-0 on aggregate to Manchester United. 

They currently lie in 11th place in Ligue 1, 23 points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, but emerged from Group G as winners on the back of three successive victories having taken only two points from their first three fixtures. 

Their ranks include former Southampton and West Ham defender Jose Fonte, the much-travelled Hatem Ben Arfa, who joined the club as a free agent in January, and star man Renato Sanches.

Chelsea won the Champions League last season

Chelsea won the Champions League last season

Chelsea v Lille: What has been said?

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: “We should not think too much of how others could see us as the favourites against Lille.

“We have to accept at the moment it’s a phase where things feel a bit tight and more difficult than other times. This is the situation for the match on Tuesday.

“It’s important to be realistic and not over-expect from us, and accept games against midtable teams can become difficult. Once we accept that, it’s the first step to feel a certain freedom and become better.

“We are confident of having a good performance because we deliver on a high level in knockout matches, cup matches, Champions League matches. We have the fans behind us. We go step by step, and we will ready to fight with them on an okay level.”

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