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Champions League Round 6 Tactical Preview: Chelsea V. Lille

Chelsea faced off away against Lille on October 19th. The game, as expected was a cagey affair with Chelsea squeezing out the 2-1 win. Chels...

Chelsea faced off away against Lille on October 19th. The game, as expected was a cagey affair with Chelsea squeezing out the 2-1 win. Chelsea were riding high during October, the same can't be said about this November period for Frank Lampard's Blues.


Lille, under manager Christophe Galtier have set-up in a 4-2-3-1 for every Champions League fixture thus far, and around 75% of their Ligue 1 fixtures.

Lille are what you'd call a "counter-attacking" in the purest sense. The front trident of Ikone, Osihmen and Bamba are exceptional on the break, with Lille's primary modus operandi in the previous face off versus Chelsea to tuck in and defend in a narrow 4-4-2, and hit Chelsea in transition. Specifically, Ikone and Osihmen hitting the gap between fullback and centre back as well as centre back and central midfield respectively.

Chelsea will have to be wary of the threat Lille carry on the break, with Chelsea's defensive struggles primarily coming from switching off and losing organization when possession is lost and teams break at pace.


Chelsea have found themselves in a bit of a rut, with Frank Lampard's last 5 games resulting in 3 losses, 1 win and 1 draw. Chelsea need to control the midfield, as well as the space between the midfield and defensive lines; in essence, Chelsea need to remain compact.

Chelsea will have two options to come out successful in the "must win" tie.
Option A: Chelsea must counter-press effectively, when they lose the ball, the spaces available should be limited as soon as possible. By counter-pressing, Chelsea can funnel play into the middle where Zouma and one of Rudiger or Christensen are tasked with winning aerial duels to mitigate the threat.

Option B: Chelsea can cede possession, line up with the intent to make it as cagey as possible. Thus, hoping to beat Lille at their own game. Sit back in a deep block when necessary and hit on the break through their plethora of attacking outlets in Abraham, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Mount.

If Chelsea lineup in a 4-3-3, they'll have a far easier time at closing down the "half spaces" in which Lille's attacking quadrant excel at playing within. Jorginho, Kovacic and Kante will all be crucial in mitigating Lille's threat on the break, as well as controlling the tempo of the game, so that Chelsea can find the gaps between Lille's lines, as well as control when in front.

Lineup and Score Prediction:
Chelsea: Kepa, James, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Willian.
3-1 Chelsea, scorer: Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho (PK)


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