Chelsea survived a late scare to shift into the Champions League knockout phases with victory in excess of Lille at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard’s side were in finish command for the most component and established up the victory they needed with first-50 % plans from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea’s nerves were frayed when former striker Loic Remy pulled a single back for Lille late on but they were being able to shut out victory to arrive at the previous 16 just after ending a tricky team in second location guiding Valencia but forward of final season’s semi-finalists Ajax.
Abraham scored his 13th objective of the time immediately after 19 minutes when he turned in Willian’s cross from near selection even though Azpilicueta headed in from Emerson’s corner 10 minutes prior to the break.
Lille, with almost nothing but pride to engage in for and with a significantly-adjusted group, barely threatened until finally Remy’s late strike but Chelsea observed out the gain to comprehensive the 1st phase of their Champions League assignment.
Where Lampard need to make improvements to Chelsea
Lampard and Chelsea deserve excellent credit for navigating their way out of a risky Team H – in particular as the Champions League marketing campaign opened with a home defeat by Valencia.
Chelsea regrouped, struck gold with a critical win absent from Ajax and then attained another very important level coming from 4-1 down in the return game versus final season’s semi-finalists at Stamford Bridge.
It has been a excellent work but Lampard will know as effectively as everyone that there are faults which will have to be addressed in advance of the tournament resumes with the knockout stage in February.
Chelsea are complete of aptitude and exhilaration heading forward, led by the totally free-scoring Abraham, but vulnerable at the again, as proved by individuals 4 targets conceded at household to Ajax and the amount of odds conceded ahead of drawing 2-2 in Valencia.
And even listed here, in which they were in cruise management for almost the full activity, they experienced nervous times at the close soon after Remy scored for Lille.
It is in central defence where the uncertainties lie, deficiencies exposed in the Leading League as very well as in Europe – and the proof is currently there that this gentle underbelly will leave Chelsea in danger as they are on system to draw just one of the Champions League elite.
The return of Antonio Rudiger immediately after injury, commencing his initial video game considering the fact that September, at least provides Lampard the luxurious of getting his very best defender out there but the lifting of Chelsea’s transfer ban is very well timed in the Champions League context.
Chelsea will surely be on the lookout in the central defensive spot, though getting higher good quality in January is normally built far more complicated by other individuals clubs’ reluctance to sell mid-season.
Lampard will be nicely knowledgeable this is a weak connection that will be ruthlessly probed if Chelsea are to drive deeper into this opposition.