Goals from Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta and the collective efforts of players in the second half made the routine win possible for the Blues. Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals with ease.
Chelsea traveled to France to face an in-form Lille side over which they already boasted a 2-0 aggregate advantage from their first-leg encounter. The blues battled to a thoroughly deserved win over their French counterparts, overcoming the early penalty scare from Burak Yilmaz through Christian Pulisic’s equalizer, all in the eventful first-half. Cesar Azpilicueta’s step up settled the contest, helping Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals.
And with that, Chelsea’s cherished hopes of retaining their European crown continue…
Lille starting lineup (4-4-2):
Leo Jardim | Tiago Djaló, Botman, Fonte (c), Çelik | Gudmundsson, Xeka, André, Bamba | David, Yilmaz
Substitutes: Grbic, Raux, Ben Arfa, Lihadji, Gomes, Weah, Zhegrova, Onana, Bradaric
Chelsea starting lineup (3-5-2):
Mendy | Rüdiger, Silva, Christensen | Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Kanté, Azpilicueta (c) | Pulisic, Havertz
Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Bettinelli, Chalobah, Sarr, Kenedy, Mount, Vale, Ziyech, Loftus-Cheek, Lukaku, Werner
Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals – Match Highlights
Thomas Tuchel had to leave behind Reece James, Callum Hudson Odoi (due to Injury concerns) and Ross Barkley for the trip, as the club still struggles with a limited traveling budget allotted to them by the government as part of the licence restrictions.
It was a confident and a positive start for Lille who enjoyed lengthy spells of possession during the first-half. The blues had to weather some stormy moments, owing to the constant pressure from Lille.
Chalobah, who was brought on for an injured Andreas Christensen following a dirty foul by Yilmaz, continued with his recent tradition of giving away free kicks to the opponents because of his erroneous misplays.
This additional favour from an awkward series of events paired up with the growing pressure from Lille, finally landed them an opportunity in the 38th minute, as Burak Yilmaz opened the scoring through a penalty awarded to Lille by a Jorginho error as reviewed by VAR.
Lille’s efforts resulted in them being able to reduce their aggregate deficit from 2-0 to 2-1.
It seemed as if the Blues would head into second-half without much change in their scoreline. Since the kick off, Chelsea looked somewhat slow and ponderous offensively, lacking a creative spark.
Despite their repeated attempts to take charge, they were almost always dispossessed before they could register a meaningful shot.
Throughout the first-half, they created very little chances due to the midfield of Kovačić, Kante and Jorginho falling somewhat flat in terms of attacking quality, also failing to maintain control.
But as the game progressed, a slight shift in intensities was recorded. Lille’s early lead was not destined to last and was instead short-lived as Christian Pulisic responded quicky to the conceded goal by capitalising on Jorginho’s fine pass in the first-half stoppage time, restoring Chelsea’s 2-goal aggregate.
After a struggling first-half, Chelsea finally found their stride following the confidence-restoring goal from Christian Pulisic for which, Jorginho deserves the partial credit. That beautiful pass certainly compensated for the earlier handball from the midfielder that cost the Blues a penalty.
Second half kicked off with the Ligue 1 side looking deflated by the blow but it wasn’t long until they came close to scoring again through Xeka, whose header hit against the post, resulting in a wasted influential opportunity.
Second half was a complete turn of events for the Blues as it was now Chelsea who enjoyed control of the game more. Lille were still working hard to create chances but their attempted shots consistently kept missing the target.
Tuchel’s genius substitutions yet again proved to be the saving grace for Chelsea as substitute Mason Mount switched the pace up a little, later into the second half.
He delivered a beautiful cross from the left, which found the feet of Azpilicueta who eventually took the tie away from Lille as he slammed the strike home with his knee in the 71st minute, putting the seal on the win.
The final 15-20 minutes saw many attempts, both from Lille and Chelsea, majority of which were just poorly planned shots that all went off-target. Chelsea could have added another goal to the scoresheet if it weren’t for Marcos Alonso’s miscalculated pass to which even Romelu Lukaku expressed his visible disgust. This concluded the action-packed second half.
Chelsea have booked their place into the quarter-finals despite their off-pitch woes
Despite Chelsea’s ongoing crisis of the highest degree, following the sanctioning of club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, the players didn’t seem distracted at all. This strength in their mentality is what helped them overpower such committed opponents.
Chelsea now advance through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, boasting a 1-4 win on aggregate over their French adversary.
Man of the match:
Christian Pulisic was announced man of the match owing to his crucial equaliser before the half-time whistle.
When are the quarter-final draws:
The quarter-final draws will take place on Friday, March 18th, at 11am UK time. Semi-final draws are expected to take place on the same day.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022