Champions League – Eternal Thiago Silva, Sanches all alone, injuries in spades: the tops and flops of Chelsea-Lille

Tops

Hard to believe he’s 37. The Brazilian defender showed that he was the boss, in the duel as in the anticipation this Tuesday evening. Present on the rare Lille centers, and in contact on all the attempts of the Mastiffs, the former captain of PSG magnetized all the balls and controlled a shy Jonathan David. The strong man of the defense of Tuchel, as for a year.

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  • Kanté alone against 4, not a problem

Facing the four central midfielders of LOSC training at kick-off, N’Golo Kanté delivered a recital at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening. The French international almost single-handedly muzzled the entire Lille midfield, both in recovery and in his team’s offensive transitions. In mastering the long game and overturns, he was the author of several breakthroughs which pierced the northern midfielder, then even delivered an offering for Pulisic on Chelsea’s second goal. He embodied the class of difference between the Blues and Lille this Tuesday evening.

In the first Lille period, it was the only one who brought a little danger. Quickly back in line with his starting position on the right side, Renato Sanches put the intensity of a Champions League match. Problem: it was the only one among the residents of Ligue 1 to create content forward. Two of his well-felt long games could even have ended better without the clumsiness of his teammates. Less on the pace in the second half, he still used a little too much useless ball touches, before giving up his place for the last ten minutes. It’s not for lack of trying, but he wasn’t helped.

Renato Sanches down against Chelsea, symbol of LOSC’s sterility at Stamford Bridge

Credit: Getty Images

Flops

In a match where LOSC had the role of the outsider, it is unacceptable to have shown so much passivity on set pieces. The Lille paid a high price, with a goal conceded in the 7th minute of play on the first opposing corner. Positioned in zone marking, Gourvennec’s men were punished by a very alone Kai Havertz, and launched, where the northern defenders were all at a standstill. There are no secrets, a mistake in this kind of situation, at this level, it does not forgive.

Kai Havertz (Chelsea) far too alone to open the scoring against LOSC

Credit: Imago

  • Onana, we didn’t understand

We imagined him in third midfield with the starting line-up of LOSC, but Amadou Onana was much more like a second striker on Tuesday evening at Chelsea. The Belgian athlete suffered a lot with the game behind his back, without ever being available or making a difference. The Lille have not even benefited so much from his size on cross situations, since they have only tried very little. Technically limited, he was logically the first to give up his place on the Lille side. Gourvennec did not help him with this atypical positioning.

  • Three injuries in one half is too many

Was it a lawn problem? Bad preparation? Or just bad luck? Still, three players were injured in the second period, on both sides. Mateo Kovacic went out first, too touched to continue. Then Hakim Ziyech followed suit, enough to allow Tuchel in his misfortune to give playing time to players who lacked it since the start of the season (Saul Niguez, Loftus-Cheek, Sarr…). And finally, on the Lille side, it was Tiago Djalo, curiously positioned on the left side, who had to leave because of a physical glitch at the end of the game. One thing is certain, these repeated stoppages did not help to provide a great show on Tuesday evening…

Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) with Pulisic and Celik

Credit: Getty Images

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