After a somewhat low-key start, where Chelsea maintained the majority of possession and Lille were happy to sit back and show the threat of counters, the game exploded into life when Tammy Abraham opened the scoring about halfway through the first-half.
It was a lovely through ball from Tomori, who had repeatedly stepped up on into the left channel, both to press and to start attacks, to find Abraham in the area, breaking the offside trap thanks to the left back trailing behind the rest of his teammates. Lille were convinced the goal was offside, but both the replays and VAR made it clear he wasn’t.
Unfortunately, Chelsea’s lead lasted less than 10 minutes, after yet another bit of poor set piece defending allowed Victor Osimhen to rise highest between Zouma and Tomori to nod it down and into the back of the net.
The second half started off as a slightly lower tempo affair, with Chelsea allowed to have possession in midfield and down the flanks and but unable to pose to much danger, while Lille looked for counters and set pieces, posing much concern with the latter kind every time.
Lampard decided to push for the win by putting on Hudson-Odoi for the final 25 minutes and switching to a 4-2-3-1, and Abraham, Mount, and all came close to finding the crucial second goal, before Willian bounced in a first-time volley from a Hudson-Odoi cross with a little over 10 minutes left!
Chelsea managed to see out the win without too much trouble, save for a couple silly mistakes by Tomori and Kepa (collector’s items). Kepa coming to the rescue twice to collect down low and bravely in the penalty area without committing a foul!
Job done. Good win. Carefree.
- 3-4-3 for the Blues, with Tomori-Zouma-Azpi across the Conte-esque back three, and Alonso and James attacking up the wings.
- 4-2-3-1 for the final 25 minutes, after Hudson-Odoi came on for Reece James. Late subs Pedro for Willian and Kovacic for Mount completed the changes, with Kova adding to central midfield for the final few minutes.
- Second straight game with an important late-game goal from Willian. Second straight game with an important late-game assist from Hudson-Odoi — both for Chelsea’s second goal on the night.
- Pulisic not even on the bench, which is sure to be headline news in America
- Barkley not on the bench either after his weekend taxicab confessional
- My kingdom for set piece defending!
- Next up: Southampton away on Sunday. Then the international break.