N’Golo Kante repeats Champions League feat as Thomas Tuchel’s worrying Chelsea curse continues – Daniel Childs

Chelsea put in one of their more entertaining displays in several weeks against Lille on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge.

Kai Havertz’s powerful header from a corner eight minutes in set the tone for a comfortable evening in west London, with Thomas Tuchel’s men looking a lot more fluid in the final third.

Christian Pulisic’s clever finish to make it 2-0 ended a brilliant counter-attacking move and sets Chelsea up with a strong lead heading to France for the second leg next month.

Tuchel made some big calls, most notably leaving Romelu Lukaku on the bench for Havertz, who played alongside Hakim Ziyech and Pulisic in a front three.

It wasn’t a night without any concerns, with some injury worries heading into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

But that’s what Tuchel would have aimed for in this first leg. Chelsea was effective whilst offering some good entertainment.

Good: N’Golo Goes Kantesonic

Chelsea has been carefully protecting their French genius for nights like these since the start of this season.

N’Golo Kante’s ridiculous performance in the knockout phase of last season’s Champions League sent his reputation to new levels of stardom, and Tuchel will be hoping he repeats the trick this season.

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This performance brought back shades of his game-changing acts against both Madrid sides last Spring.

The surging runs through the centre of Lille opened up the pitch for Chelsea and injected much-needed energy, having a crucial hand in Pulisic’s goal.

Bad: Injury Curse Strikes Again

Chelsea fans will be sweating over the fitness of Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic ahead of Sunday’s final as both players went down injured in the second half.

Both added energy and creativity on the night and would be big blows to Tuchel.

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This season, there is a concerning trend growing in the Champions League of our players getting injured. Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku against Malmo, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic against Juventus and now this.

Ugly: Silva Covers For Alonso

Tuchel usually shouts at one Chelsea player during each game, and against Lille, it was Marcos Alonso.

The wing-back was regularly exposed down the left-hand side, and Thiago Silva was not pleased when he had to spring over to cover the danger quickly.

Alonso offered some encouraging moments in the opposing box, but his defending still leaves a lot to be desired. Tuchel has a big call to make on that side against Liverpool.

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