If we had to calculate the number of branches to which the LOSC can cling, we would have a hard time, to be quite frank, to distinguish the slightest twig. Everything leans in favor of Chelsea halfway through this knockout round of the Champions League. First the score of the first leg (2-0) which only leaves room for a feat for the men of Jocelyn Gourvennec. Then the performance of an abyssal boredom against a candidate for maintenance, Saint-Etienne in this case, last Friday (0-0), which eroded confidence and highlighted the lack of consistency of a champion of France far away of his standards from last season.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the absence of Renato Sanches, LOSC’s best player this season in general and at Stamford Bridge in particular, is an additional pebble in shoes already filled with gravel. “Renato is an exceptional player, who can do a bit of everything and play in all positions. We’re going to get organized without him, we’re going to do things differently“, Gourvennec explained. Lille’s other golden boy, Jonathan David, has lost his form at the end of last year and has scored only one goal in his last ten matches. In short, Lille is in a mess at the time of facing the reigning European champion even if the elimination of the away goal helps to cushion the silence of the first leg.
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Renato Sanches during Lille – Clermont
Credit: Getty Images
No European exploit in the history of LOSC
“I’m the only one in this room who believes in the feat. We are playing a match where we are given less than a 10% chance of qualifying and Losc always responds in these situations.“, warned Jocelyn Gourvennec. “You can’t stop us from dreaming of a feat.“Hope is perhaps the only thing to cling to when almost everything announces a smooth qualification for Chelsea FC even though Lille were not ridiculous at Stamford Bridge.
Even history is not on the side of the Northerners, who are only playing the second round of 16 in their history in C1 after 2007 and an elimination against Manchester United, and eliminating Chelsea this Wednesday would undoubtedly be the greatest feat in the history of LOSC. He has only once to reverse the course of a badly started confrontation. It was in 2001 against Fiorentina in the third round of the UEFA Cup (1-0 defeat in Italy and 2-0 victory in the return). And the Mastiffs, unlike many L1 clubs, have never signed a resounding feat in a European Cup final table.
‘Chelsea can be wiped off the map today’
Will Chelsea be able to line up?
Lille has neither the DNA nor, a priori, the means to overthrow one of the favorites to final victory. Thomas Tuchel, the coach of Chelsea, recognizes it elsewhere: the Lille “have everything to gain and nothing to lose” in this match. There remains the particular context of the match and the potential repercussions on a Chelsea team which no longer knows what its short, medium and long term future will hold.
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