Chelsea are halfway there in the semi-finals of the Champions League after their first-leg win over LOSC Lille in the round of 16. The Blues defeated Lille 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with goals from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic. Chelsea looked solid and serious after their dismal performance against Crystal Palace. Despite the away goal rule being abolished, Chelsea never looked like they will concede against a decent Lille side. Moreover, it was evident that Thomas Tuchel had done some extra work in the training after their narrow win over Palace. Chelsea player ratings are here from what was another comfortable win in the Champions League for the Blues.
On a night where Chelsea missed their most consistent player Mason Mount, others finally stepped up. Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, and Kai Havertz all looked sharp and primed. However, Romelu Lukaku was dropped to the bench as expected after his bizarre display against Palace. Moreover, the record signing didn’t even come off the bench later in the game. But Tuchel’s plan of deploying Havertz as the number-9 worked brilliantly.
Havertz headed in the opener from an inch-perfect set-piece delivered by Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan has finally come to the party this season and put on another important performance. Chelsea thereafter completely took charge and created more clear-cut chances. However, the Lille goalkeeper was helped by some poor finishing from Pulisic and Havertz. Finally, Pulisic doubled Chelsea’s lead in the second half after he was teed up excellently by Kante. The American held-off couple of Lille defenders to slot past his first of the night.
Lille too had some glimpses of the Chelsea goal, but Edouard Mendy was determined to keep his clean-sheet intact. The back-three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger too were rock-solid and once again showed why they are the defending champions.
Chelsea Player Ratings: Defense
Edouard Mendy- 7/10
A pretty comfortable night for Mendy, further helped by the wall of Christensen-Silva-Rudiger. Still had to pull a couple of saves though they were not as threatening. Another clean sheet in the bag for the Senegalese.
Andres Christensen- 7/10
The Dane was forced alongside the experienced Thiago Silva. He linked-up up quite frequently with Cesar Azpilicueta further forming a triangle with Hakim Ziyech. Moreover, Christensen was confident on the ball and amassed 84 touches with a passing accuracy of 93%. Christensen might have reminded Tuchel of his importance to the team given his contract expires in the summer.
Thiago Silva- 9/10
Simply the best player on the pitch. At 37, Silva is an absolute force to reckon. Another day where he might have made his former employer PSG regret not extending him to Paris. Silva made 7 clearances and a whopping 12 recoveries. The Brazilian won a major 4 aerial duels out of 5 contest. He is easily our highest rated among Chelsea player ratings.
Antonio Rudiger- 6/10
Rudiger looked a bit unsettled in the game. This was evident after the game lacked his daunting runs forward with the ball. Could have been a night to forget for him as nearly netted his own goal.
Midfield and Wing-backs
Cesar Azpilicueta- 6/10
The captain put on a decent display contributing well in the defense as well as the attack. Carried the ball tirelessly from the back to the attacking third. As usual, chipped in some intriguing crosses in the opponent’s box.
N’Golo Kante- 8/10
Kante has at times looked off his pace this season, but the little Frenchman put on his ‘A’ game against Lille. The midfielder ran like an engine in the Chelsea midfield and was all over the pitch. A solid defensive game as usual, but collected an assist too. Kante made a blistering run from the midfield after winning the ball back and freed Pulisic in the penalty box to double Chelsea’s lead.
Mateo Kovacic- 6/10
A mixed night for Kovacic against Lille. He got dribbled past 3 times in his 51 minutes on the pitch and only managed to win 3 of his 7 duels contested. Just when the Croat was coming into the game, was forced to leave the pitch in the second half following an injury.
Marcos Alonso- 6/10
Surprise in the starting eleven after Hudson-Odoi’s better performances in that position. However, Alonso put on a decent performance, delivering constant crosses in the box. Sloppy at times but could have ended up on the scoresheet as his shot was well blocked.
Hakim Ziyech- 7/10
Ziyech once again stepped-up for Chelsea in Mount’s absence. The Moroccan constantly looked to create in the attack as well as blocked a couple of Lille shots too. His perfect delivery from the set piece provided the opener as Havertz pounced on to score. But was subbed-off in the second half after he was unable to continue due to an injury.
Kai Havertz- 7/10
Havertz continues his best days in the Chelsea shirt. Though he missed a clear-cut chance inside the first 10 minutes of the game, later made up for it after he perfectly timed his run to bury a header in the Lille goal. Missed another sitter but overall enjoyed his 50th Chelsea start.
Christian Pulisic- 8/10
The American just seems to enjoy the game whenever named in the starting eleven. Pulisic fought for the ball, demanded for the ball and finally scored. After being released by Kante in the Lille box, Pulisic dominantly held off two Lille defenders to slot it past the keeper for Chelsea’s second goal of the night. Once again he proved how much quality he bears in his finishing.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek- 6/10
Came on for the injured Mateo Kovacic in the 51st minute. Loftus-Cheek finally made a return from injury in the weekend’s game against Crystal Palace. The English midfielder played a decent 39 minutes against Lille and looked settled. Kovacic’s injury may open a starting place for Loftus-Cheek in the coming fixtures depending on the Croat’s return. Loftus-Cheek ended his UCL comeback with 7 ball recoveries and a pass accuracy of 94%.
Saul Niguez- 5/10
Came for Hakim Ziyech in the 58th minute. Saul’s tough life at Stamford bridge continues. With Kante and Loftus-Cheek on the pitch, Saul was given full freedom to drive forward with the ball. However, he failed to capitalize on the opportunity. He is our lowest-rated among Chelsea player ratings.
Timo Werner- N/A
Came on for Christian Pulisic in the 80th minute.
Malang Sarr- N/A
Came on for Marcos Alonso in the 80th minute.