Chelsea would take on Ligue 1 outfit OSC Lille on Tuesday the 22nd of February in a Champions League Round of 16 tie at Stamford Bridge. It was the first of two legs with the second taking place on March 16th.
Chelsea headed into the game in fairly mixed form but were able to come away with the win on the day.
The west Londoners began the tie in dominant fashion and would take the lead after just seven minutes when Kai Havertz headed in from a Hakim Ziyech corner after squandering a few easy chances before that.
Lille then began to gain a foothold in the tie and Chelsea did lose Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic to injury. However, the Blues were able to add a second with 63 minutes on the clock when N’Golo Kante burst forward and slotted in Christian Pulisic who finished with ease.
Thomas Tuchel's side were then able to hold out for a 2-0 win, handing them a nice cushion for the return leg in March.
Chelsea can now turn their attention to the 2022 League Cup final on Sunday.
Edouard Mendy (6.5) – Had very little to do in the first 45 but dealt with what he had to do well. A very similar story in the second half.
Andreas Christensen (6.5) – A fine showing vs Lille. Did little wrong but also not too much of note as he helped guide Chelsea to clean sheet.
Antonio Rudiger (6.5) – A quiet first half but he did nearly score an own goal early on. Solid in the second 45 and had little to deal with.
Thiago Silva (7.5) – Another top quality showing from the veteran defender. Made a number of vital blocks, clearances and interceptions to help keep Lille at bay during key moments of the clash.
Cesar Azpilicueta (7) – Azpilicueta offered some threat down Chelsea’s right flank during the 90 minutes, but his passes were not met with great finishing.
N’Golo Kante (9) – A typically superb performance from Kante. The Frenchman, as is the norm, made a number of key tackles and interceptions during the clash. He also helped out offensively, bursting forward to assist Pulisic for Chelsea’s second.
Mateo Kovacic (4.5) – Did not have the best first half and struggled to deal with the lively Renato Sanches. Was then taken off after 50 minutes and went straight down the tunnel.
Marcos Alonso (7) – Made a number of promising runs down the Chelsea left-hand side throughout the game and was a hindrance for Lille, but ultimately never got a goal or assist before coming off after 80 minutes.
Hakim Ziyech (7.5) – A solid delivery for the Kai Havertz opener and continued to pose a threat before going off in some discomfort after 29 minutes.
Christian Pulisic (9) – One of Pulisic’s better games in a Chelsea shirt. Started the match well and made a number of key passes before bursting forward and slotting in Chelsea’s second of the day. A place in the starting line-up vs Liverpool this weekend looks to be on the cards after a bright showing in Europe.
Kavi Havertz (7.5) - The German missed an easy chance early on but made up for it very quickly by heading in a corner after seven minutes. A respectable outing but probably could have had his hat-trick if his finishing was better. Havertz also gave Chelsea the ability to press from the front much more effectively.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (4.5) – Came on after 50 minutes, started in midfield but was moved out wide after an hour when Ziyech went off injured. However, the Englishman proved much less effective than the Moroccan. He then dropped into a deeper midfield role late in the game where he looked slightly better.
Saul Niguez (4.5) – Came on after 59 minutes. Saul's passing was decent but he did very little of note.
Timo Werner (4) - Came on for the final 10 minutes in place of Pulisic. Hardly touched the ball.
Malang Sarr (4.5) - Only on the pitch for 10 minutes, helped ensure Lille did not get a late goal.
What they said
Tuchel on Kante: "Today he was back at top level, got better every minute through the game and it has a huge impact. But we're not surprised and we've been waiting for it for a few games now. It was a top performance."