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5 stats ahead of Chelsea-Lille UCL clash

Five reasons why Lille won't be looking forward to upcoming UCL clash with Chelsea

February 16, 2022 By Michelle Bonsu
The reigning Ligue 1 champs will likely face a tough examination when they travel to face reigning UCL winners Chelsea in the round of 16.

The Champions League is back in full swing, and that means many matches are in store over the next few weeks. So far, four teams have already played, with the advantage going to Manchester City and PSG. City cruised to a 5-0 win over Sporting CP, thus already booking their spot in the quarter-finals, while Kylian Mbappe proved to be the hero on the night as his late goal gave Les Parisiens a vital narrow 1-0 over Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich will face Salzburg in a game that pretty much everyone has already predicted the outcome, while Inter and Liverpool will lock horns in what should be a very interesting tie at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

And next week, reigning UCL holders Chelsea will resume their title defense as they welcome Lille to Stamford Bridge. Lille notably secured their spot in this season's Champions League thanks to winning the Ligue 1 title - their first in a decade - but Les Dogues could be in for a long evening in the English capital.

Here are five stats that could give Lille fans a bit of worries ahead of their showdown next week.

1. Goals have been hard to come by

Lille netted just seven goals en route to this juncture, making them the lowest scoring side to progress since Leicester City and Atletico Madrid scored only seven during the 2016/17 iteration of the Champions League. However, it was still enough to ensure that Jocelyn Gourvennec's squad topped Group G, with Canadian international Jonathan David netting three of those goals. Should the 22-year-old score next week, he'll become the second youngest non European player to score in four straight Champions League ties (after Lionel Messi did so at 21 in November 2008).

2. Inexperience at this stage

This will only be the second round of 16 appearance for Lille, who did not have a successful debut at this same stage 15 years ago. Interestingly, they also took on an English giant, Manchester United, who beat them 1-0 both home and away to progress to the quarter-finals at their opponents' expense. Still, football is very unpredictable, meaning that this time around could bring better fortunes for Les Dogues.

3. Chelsea's strong home record...especially against French teams

The Blues come into next week's contest with a strong home record against French sides. In fact, Chelsea have lost just one of their last 10 home games when it comes to facing teams from France, while winning six and drawing three. However, that sole loss, which came against PSG nearly six years ago in March 2016, dumped them out of the Champions League.

4. Lille's English hoodoo

Lille will be facing Chelsea for the third time next week. So far, Les Dogues haven't had any success, losing both home and away by a 2-1 score-line during the 2019/20 Champions League group stages. Their frustration extends beyond taking on the Blues, as they've also had to play Manchester United six times prior, and save for a 1-0 win in November 2005, they have lost five of their prior eight meetings with English teams (two draws).

5. Tuchel's record in knockout ties

The German tactician currently boasts a record of 73 percent (8/11) when it comes to winning and progressing from knockout ties. Only three coaches top this: Vicente del Bosque (80 percent, 8/10), Jupp Heynckes (86 percent, 12/14), and Zinedine Zidane (88 percent, 14/16).

Of course, these are just mere numbers, and they don't always predict the eventual outcome. Still, it provides some food for thought for fans of both teams as Chelsea and Lille prepare to renew acquaintances next week Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

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