Lille vs. Chelsea Predictions: Havertz to be in the goals again
Lille vs. Chelsea Odds
Chelsea make the long trip to northern France on Wednesday evening to take on Lille in their Champions League Last 16 2nd leg tie, and will be grateful that they don’t have to make the journey by public transport. We've asked Josh Jones to preview this tie for us and provide us with his best two bets.
Lille vs. Chelsea Tips
The government’s freezing of owner Roman Abramovich’s assets saw some speculating that they’d have to travel on a budget, but Thomas Tuchel confirmed on Sunday that transport arrangements were already taken care of - though he claimed he’d drive a 7-seater himself if he had to.
His resolve in the face of adversity is one he’s clearly instilled in his players and it was embodied wonderfully by Kai Havertz, whose 89th minute winner saw The Blues escape against a brave Newcastle side with all three points.
They were very lucky to escape that game with three points and 11 men, with many of the opinion that the German international shouldn’t have even been on the pitch for a flailing arm in an aerial battle with Dan Burn.
There were also strong claims for a penalty against Trevoh Chalobah, with VAR neglecting to intervene after Stuart Atwell decided the young defender had won the ball, and it meant the points stayed in London.
Tuchel’s side don’t play in the Premier League now until April, and can focus solely on progressing in their two cup ties this week at Lille in the Champions League and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.
Their midweek hosts are unbeaten in Ligue 1 since their first leg loss at Stamford Bridge, beating Lyon and Clermont Foot before a disappointing draw with St. Etienne at the weekend.
They lost influential midfielder Renato Sanches after 25 minutes of that game, and will have to make do without the Portuguese starlet for this one.
If they’re to make the tie competitive they’ll be reliant on the performance of American forward Jonathan David whose 17 goals this season is 11 more than any other player in their squad.
He bagged his first goal of 2022 against Clermont Foot a fortnight ago, and will look to build on that with support from Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonathan Bamba.
Havertz has been in exceptional form of late, and his late winner against Newcastle was just the latest in a series of vital contributions for The Blues.
The deft touch and flick beyond Martin Dúbravka embodied a finesse that few players in the world possess, and topped off a wonderful eight days for the German international.
The goal was his 5th in three games across eight days, with an assist sprinkled in too, and he’s rediscovered himself in the No.9 role to great effect in 2022.
His 10 goals this season leads Chelsea players in all competitions, and was able to find space frequently in the first leg - conjuring four shots, two big chances and the opening goal in that game.
With the hosts having to chase the game he could have the freedom of Villeneuve-d'Ascq on Wednesday evening, and that should lead to plenty of opportunities to put the tie to bed.
One of Europe’s most prolific offenders when it comes to cards is central midfielder Xeca, and he’s been racking them up with unwavering frequency again this season.
Having picked up 10 bookings despite starting just 20 games last season (46 apps), the Portuguese bruiser has 11 in just 21 starts (27 apps) this term - with increased responsibility leading to more trouble for him.
He’s earned three of those cards in the Champions League despite starting just four matches, and has been committing fouls at a rate of 1.82 per game in the competition.
It’s likely he’ll have to deal with at least one of Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic, who have been fouled a combined 95 times so far this season, and he could be tasked with putting a stop to Chelsea on the counter.
2022 P/L: +3.15pts
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